Cosponsor the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (S. 411)

Categories: Advocacy Letter

Recipient: U.S. Senate

View the PDF of this letter (including footnotes) here.

Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the 126 undersigned organizations, we urge you to cosponsor S. 411, the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (ERRPA). Passage of this bill is needed to put an end to racial and religious profiling by law enforcement officials and to ensure that individuals are not prejudicially stopped, investigated, arrested, or detained based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Policies primarily designed to impact certain groups are ineffective and often result in the destruction of civil liberties for everyone.

ERRPA would establish a prohibition on racial and religious profiling, enforceable by declaratory or injunctive relief. The legislation would mandate training for federal law enforcement officials on profiling issues. As a condition of receiving federal funding, state, local, and Indian tribal law enforcement agencies would be required to collect data on both routine and spontaneous investigatory activities. The Department of Justice would be authorized to provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies for the development and implementation of best policing practices, such as early warning systems, technology integration, and other management protocols that discourage profiling. Lastly, this important legislation would require the Attorney General to issue periodic reports to Congress assessing the nature of any ongoing racial profiling.

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order banning all refugees as well as people from seven Muslim-majority nations, from entering the U.S. The President, who not only built his presidential campaign on the promise of a Muslim immigration ban but also appointed openly anti-Muslim members to his cabinet[1], made his intentions clear when speaking to the Christian Broadcasting Network, stating that Christian refugees would be given priority in the U.S. refugee application process.[2] This recent attack on the Muslim community demonstrates the dire need for ERRPA. Racial and religious profiling results in a loss of trust and confidence between local, state, and federal law enforcement and the communities they serve. Although most individuals are taught from an early age that the role of law enforcement is to fairly defend and guard communities from people who want to cause harm to others, this fundamental message is often contradicted when these same defenders are seen as unnecessarily and unjustifiably harassing innocent people. When law enforcement targets communities based on stereotypes, they undermine their ability to correctly identify serious criminal and terrorist threats. Investigations are flawed and hindered because people and communities impacted by these stereotypes are less likely to cooperate with law enforcement agencies they have grown to mistrust, making us all less safe. We can begin to reestablish trust in law enforcement if we act now.

Profiling in routine law enforcement is fueled by the assumption that people of color commit more of the types of crimes that profiling is used to detect. However, this assumption has been widely denounced and disproven through data analysis. For example, reports detailing the results of traffic stops and searches for contraband show that people of color, including African Americans and Latinos, are no more likely to have illegal drugs and other contraband than whites. A 2008 report by the ACLU of Arizona found that Native Americans were 3.25 times more likely, and African Americans and Hispanics were each 2.5 times more likely, to be searched during traffic stops than whites. It also found that whites were more likely to be carrying contraband than Native Americans, Middle Easterners, Hispanics and Asians on all major Arizona highways.[3] By relying on stereotypes rather than proven investigative procedures, law enforcement agencies and officials needlessly harm innocent people. Now is the time to put an end to all forms of profiling through ERRPA.

Your support for the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 is critical to its passage. We urge you to cosponsor this vital legislation, which will ensure that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are prohibited from impermissibly considering race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity in carrying out law enforcement activities. To become a cosponsor, please contact Bill Van Horne in Senator Cardin’s office at bill_vanhorne@cardin.senate.gov or (202) 224- 4524. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sakira Cook at (202) 263-2894 or cook@civilrights.org. Thank you for your valued consideration of this critical legislation.

Sincerely,

National Organizations

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
9to5, National Association of Working Women
A. Philip Randolph Institute
African American Ministers In Action
ALSO Youth, Inc
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International USA
Asian American Psychological Association
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Black and Pink
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
Center for Law and Social Policy
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Children’s Advocacy Institute
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Equity Matters
Family Equality Council
Hmong National Development
Human Rights Campaign
Inside Out Youth Services
Lambda Legal
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
MomsRising
The Movement Advancement Project
Muslim Advocates
NAACP
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Assiciation of Counsel for Children
National Association of Social Workers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of La Raza
The National Crittenton Foundation
National Employment Law Project
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Immigration Law Center
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Network for Arab American Communities
National Urban League
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
OneAmerica
People For the American Way
PolicyLink
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
The Sikh Coalition
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Bar Association
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Southern Poverty Law Center
StoptheDrugWar.org
Transcend Legal
The Trevor Project
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
YWCA USA

State and Local Organizations

9to5 California
9to5 Colorado
9to5 Georgia
9to5 Wisconsin
The Black Swan Academy
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Central Illinois Pride Health Center
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, New York
MommieActivist and Sons
Outlinc
VT YWCA
YWCA Ames-ISU
YWCA Asheville
YWCA Aurora
YWCA Berkeley/Oakland
YWCA Binghamton and Broome County, Inc.
YWCA Bradford
YWCA Canton IL
YWCA Carlisle
YWCA Central Carolinas
YWCA Central Maine
YWCA Central Massachusetts
YWCA Clark County
YWCA Clinton
YWCA Dayton, Ohio
YWCA Delaware
YWCA Elgin
YWCA f Palm Beach County, Inc
YWCA Greater Austin
YWCA Greater Green Bay
YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
YWCA Greater Portland
YWCA Kalamazoo
YWCA Madison
YWCA Monterey County
YWCA Mount Desert Island
YWCA National Capital Area
YWCA New Britain
YWCA New Mexico
YWCA Northcentral PA
YWCA of Houston
YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County
YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County Inc.
YWCA of the University of Illinois
YWCA Olympia
YWCA Orange County NY
YWCA San Antonio
YWCA San Francisco & Marin
YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish
YWCA Silicon Valley
YWCA South Hampton Roads
YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
YWCA Tri-County Area
YWCA Utah
YWCA Vermont
YWCA Warren
YWCA Westmoreland County
YWCA Wheeling
YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester
Women Who Never Give Up