WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 24, 2011) — Members of the National Council on Asian Pacific Americans applaud the introduction of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011. This landmark legislation aims to eliminate racial and religious profiling that has singled out various minority communities in the United States.
The bill (S. 1670) is sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Historically and in recent times, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been targeted for heightened scrutiny by the government based on their race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. Examples include the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; additional searches of travelers, targeted detention and deportation, and surveillance of places of worship affecting Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans following September 11; and federal and local immigration enforcement initiatives, including Secure Communities and state laws such as Arizona’s SB1070, Georgia’s HB87, and Alabama’s HB56, resulting in racial profiling.
Our organizations denounce the use of racial and religious profiling. This bill will address the harmful impact of profiling by prohibiting various forms of the practice, including in travel, immigration, and surveillance contexts; requiring training and data collection on profiling for entities receiving federal law enforcement funding; supporting law enforcement initiatives that do not result in profiling; establishing complaint mechanisms; creating privacy protections for individuals whose data is collected; and allowing affected individuals to file lawsuits to seek redress.
Like African American and Latino community members long affected by profiling, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have become all too familiar with the pernicious effects of profiling. Not only does racial profiling waste limited government resources by misdirecting scrutiny to innocent individuals, it also seriously erodes trust between law enforcement agencies and our communities.
It is past time to outlaw the practice and ensure that targeted individuals can hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a vital stake in the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act, and we encourage community members to urge the Senate to enact this important piece of legislation.
Founded in 1996, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) is a coalition of twenty-nine organizations that advocate for the interests of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders on the national level. It is united by a vision that empowers and engages AAPI community members into the political and electoral process.