WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 8, 2014) — Today, Attorney General Eric Holder released new profiling guidelines for federal law enforcement agencies. Building on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 2003 Racial Profiling Guidance, the updated guidelines expand the definition of profiling—which has been defined on the basis of race and ethnicity—to now include national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. These rules will require data collection, monitoring, and training for federal law enforcement officials. The guidelines will also cover certain local and state officers serving on joint task forces alongside federal agents.
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Judy Chu (CA-27) and CAPAC Civil Rights Task Force Chair Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statements:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “Updating the racial profiling guidance comes at a crucial time when communities of color are increasingly feeling that they are being treated differently by law enforcement and before the law. These changes are a positive step forward in that religion and national origin are included in the definition of profiling and that data collection and enhanced training will be required.
“However, I still have serious concerns about the remaining loopholes for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection that permit continued use of bias-based profiling. These entities would have a license to profile racial, religious and other minorities at our airports and borders under certain national security contexts. Law enforcement’s practice to map entire communities based on their race, ethnicity or religion would be allowed to continue. These gaps are very troublesome for the American Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities, who are increasingly subject to this type of surveillance. Our work is not done here. I will continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security to effectuate meaningful change and stronger protections for these communities.”
Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), CAPAC Civil Rights Task Force Chair: “I commend the Department of Justice for issuing this updated racial profiling guidance for federal law enforcement agencies. The practice of racial profiling harasses too many law-abiding citizens and diverts law enforcement attention and resources from those who are, in fact, truly dangerous to society. By further narrowing current exceptions and expanding the prohibition to additional characteristics, this updated guidance is a step in the right direction towards ending this practice. I am troubled though that the guidance does not apply to most state and local law enforcement agencies and that it still permits the FBI, TSA, and CBP to profile racial, religious, and other minorities at or in the vicinity of the border and in certain national security contexts. Additionally, executive guidelines can be changed for better or for worse by future administrations so more must be done. That is why I have co-sponsored the End Racial Profiling Act, which is aimed at correcting and preventing the furtherance of such discriminatory action by prohibiting federal law enforcement agencies from engaging in racial profiling and encouraging states to adopt the same type of ban on the practice. I hope that Congress will take the Justice Department’s lead and act on addressing this important issue soon.”
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.