Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

1 Aug, 2013

135 U.S. Civil Rights Groups Call for End to Racial Profiling


(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/31/2013) – The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) yesterday joined other civil rights leaders at a news conference to support the reintroduction of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2013 (ERPA). Introduced earlier this year in the Senate, this bill would eliminate profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion by federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement by changing core policies and procedures underlying this harmful practice.

At a press conference, Ranking House Judiciary Committee Member Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) was joined by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) to address the issue of racial profiling by federal and state law enforcement. During the news conference, Sen. Cardin thanked CAIR as one of the many civil rights groups in support of the bill.

CAIR has provided a “click and send” letter to member of Congress for all Americans who oppose the unjust practice of discriminatory law enforcement profiling. The letter urges support for the End Racial Profiling Act of 2013.

The End Racial Profiling Act would:

  • Provide a prohibition on racial profiling, enforceable by declaratory or injunctive relief.
  • Mandate training on racial profiling issues as part of Federal law enforcement training, the collection of data on all routine or spontaneous investigatory activities that is to be submitted through a standardized form to the Department of Justice.
  • Ensure the receipt of federal law enforcement and other funds that go to state and local governments is conditioned on their adoption of effective policies that prohibit racial profiling.
  • Authorize the Justice Department to provide grants for the development and implementation of best policing practices, such as early warning systems, technology integration, and other management protocols that discourage profiling.
  • Require the attorney general to provide periodic reports to assess the nature of any ongoing discriminatory profiling practices.

The End Racial Profiling Act has been endorsed by CAIR, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Rights Working Group, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and 135 other national, state, and local civil and legal rights organizations.

“Decades ago, in the face of shocking violence, the passage of sweeping civil rights legislation made it clear that race should not affect the treatment of an individual American under the law. I believe that thousands of pedestrian and traffic stops of innocent minorities and the killing of innocent teen calls for a similar federal response. The practice of using race as a criterion in law enforcement undermines the progress we have made toward racial equality. For these reasons, I will work with my colleagues in Congress to make the End Racial Profiling Act a reality.” Representative Conyers said.

“Racial profiling is simply wrong. It doesn’t work, it wastes valuable resources and diminishes the willingness of targeted communities from trusting and working with police when the need is real.” Senator Cardin said.

“CAIR believes that racial and religious profiling is a shameful practice from a bygone era that makes us less safe. Racial profiling diverts scarce law enforcement resources away from pursuing actual leads and preventing illegal and violent crimes,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. “Not only does profiling not work, it violates the Constitution and undermines core American values.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

For more information, contact CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com or CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com.

Announcement by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee: End Racial Profiling

This morning, ADC attended a press conference where Congressman John Conyers announced he’s introducing the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA). The introduction of the bill is very important for the Arab American community — we know the harmful effects of racial profiling first-hand. The bill also comes at a time when many of us are still reeling from the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of unarmed Trayvon Martin.

Congress will be in recess from August 5th to September 6th. Take advantage of this great opportunity by contacting the district offices of your Representative and Senators to discuss issues important to you and to the Arab American community including ERPA.

1. ADC National Office will be hosting a Webinar and Conference Call on Friday, August 2nd at 4PM EST to brief you on the most effective ways to communicate to your elected officials and explain our main policy issues. You can join our webinar by clicking here or you can call in by dialing (712) 432-1500 access code 255851#. Please RSVP by clicking here.

2. We encourage you to schedule a meeting with your House Representative and two Senators as soon as possible. Most offices prefer to be contacted via email or fax. To set up your meeting, first find your Senators’ contact information here and your House Representative’s contact information here. Then, click here to view a sample meeting request form in our guide entitled “How to Advocate Successfully.” Don’t forget to contact all three of them!

3. On Thursday, ADC will send you Advocacy Packets containing policy papers, briefings, asks, and other information that you can use during the meetings.

Our advocacy packets will focus on the following three issues that are most pressing to the Arab American community at this time. However, if you have any further suggestions regarding policy-related issues you would like us to address during this recess, please send us an email.

1. ERPA: Racial profiling involves unwarranted screening of groups of people, assumed by law enforcement officials to be predisposed to criminal behavior. ERPA will end racial profiling by requiring federal law enforcement officials to take training classes on racial profiling issues. In addition, in order to receive federal funding ERPA would require law enforcement agencies to collect data on racial profiling and it would require the Attorney General to issue Congressional reports on racial profiling.

2. Legalizing Israeli Discrimination Against Arab Americans: Senator Boxer introduced a bill that codifies discrimination against US citizens crossing Israeli borders. This would disproportionately affect Arab and Muslim Americans. Urge your Senators to remove Paragraph ii of Section 9 of the bill.

3. The Assassination of Alex Odeh: On October 11, 1985, Alex Odeh, the ADC Southern California Regional Director, was killed by a bomb planted in the ADC office. To this day, no arrests or charges have been made. Ask your Elected Officials to contact the Department of Justice and FBI and ask for an update in this case.