In Advance of Peter King Hearing, Civil Rights Coalition Documents Racial Profiling of Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans
Washington, D.C. –Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released “Restoring a National Consensus: The Need to End Racial Profiling in America.”The report is the latest effort by The Leadership Conference to address the divisive tactics being used by Rep. Peter King, which are fomenting a backlash against the American Muslim community. Recently, the coalition sent Rep. King a letter calling upon him to cancel or drastically reframe the hearings slated to occur on March 10.
“We’re disappointed that Rep. King has opted to inflame racial and religious tensions instead of legitimately addressing violent extremism by including all forms of domestic terror threats. We should strive to identify terrorists by their behavior rather than by their religion, race, or ethnicity,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference.
The report documents how the bipartisan national consensus to end racial profiling has all but evaporated in the 10 years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Since then, the federal government has focused massive investigatory resources on Arabs and Muslims, singling them out for questioning, detention, and other law enforcement activities.
“America went down this road before when it profiled Japanese Americans during World War II,” said Henderson. “In today’s environment, when African Americans are still disproportionally targeted for traffic and drug violations and when Latinos are subject to blatant discrimination by law enforcement, Rep. King’s divisive rhetoric hurts all of us.”
Though the practice was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, “Restoring a National Consensus”documents how racial profiling persists, often encouraged by misguided federal policies. The report illustrates how the use of racial profiling has expanded, not only in the counterterrorism context, but also in the context in which it originally arose—the fight against drug trafficking and other street-level crimes—as well as in the effort to enforce immigration laws.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.