WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 11, 2015) — The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Wednesday sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to close loopholes in the revised DOJ profiling guidance released in December of 2014. While the revised guidance prohibits profiling based on ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, the guidance provides exceptions for activities within the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Transportation Security Administration, and Customs and Border Patrol. The Chairs of the caucuses released the following statements:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
“The updated guidance is an important step toward ending profiling that has come after a decade’s work on this issue. But, more work must be done to close the loopholes that still allow certain law enforcement agencies to continue biased-based profiling. Approximately half of the House Democrats, representing thousands of minority communities, have sent a strong message to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that bias-based profiling is unacceptable, without exception. We also urge the DOJ to hold law enforcement accountable to the guidance through data driven tracking of profiling complaints and a thorough complaint process. In the end, these steps will help to bridge the divide between communities of color and law enforcement, and make us more secure.”
Congressman G.K. Butterfield, CBC Chair:
“The Congressional Black Caucus has asserted for years that Black Americans are treated unfairly and disproportionally in the criminal justice system, and we know that police bias and excessive use of force are real in the African American community. This is a critical time in our country and an opportunity to restore the trust of the American public in our criminal justice system. We must ensure that all Americans are treated equally before the law, and it starts with efforts to reform the guidelines used by federal law enforcement. The CBC joins with our colleagues from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) to urge the DOJ to take stronger action and reform the 2014 federal law enforcement profiling guidance to end racial and discriminatory profiling.”
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, CHC Chair:
“The Department of Justice’s updated guidance on racial profiling was a necessary first step. There are still a number of loopholes affecting immigrants and Latinos that need to be addressed. Given current events, it is critically important that we prevent and eliminate discriminatory profiling once and for all. Our communities of color deserve equal justice under the law.”
Congressman Keith Ellison, CPC Co-Chair:
“The Department of Justice report on Ferguson made it clear: when we break from our values, our communities suffer. Equal protection under the law is a bedrock American principle and it cannot be compromised, especially by law enforcement. It’s time to end discriminatory profiling once and for all.”
Congressman Raúl Grijalva, CPC Co-Chair:
“Discriminatory profiling by law enforcement will not end through half-measures and exceptions for our rules. I am heartened by the revised guidelines the Department of Justice released to address this continuing problem, but where loopholes remain, profiling will too. I am particularly concerned by the fact that the DOJ’s exemptions are for the exact same areas of law enforcement where profiling is relied upon the most. This practice is a complete departure from our values as a nation that values equality, and it must be stopped, once and for all.”
A link to the letter can be found here.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.