SAALT: Support ‘End Racial Profiling Act’
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) last month urged members of the Asian American community to “ask your senators to co-sponsor and pass the End Racial Profiling Act.” It added it is “long overdue for policymakers to pass laws that prohibit profiling in all its forms.”
Congressman John Conyers of Michigan and Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland have introduced the End Racial Profiling Act (S.1670; H.R.3618).
SAALT said the legislation will address the harmful impact of profiling by prohibiting various forms of the practice. This includes travel 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.
“We need more members of Congress to show their support and, in particular, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass the bill,” SAALT said in its national call for action.
SAALT noted that over the past ten years, South Asian, Muslim, Sikh and Arab communities living in the United States have been targeted for heightened scrutiny by law enforcement based on their religion, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality.
It said examples include frequent searches by airport security and border inspection officers, mandatory registration of certain male nationals from predominantly Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, under the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, and targeted surveillance of South Asian places of worship by federal and local law enforcement.
“Racial and religious profiling simply does not work,” SAALT added. “It diverts limited law enforcement resources away from identifying actual criminal activity, undermines trust between police and affected individuals, and chills the civil rights of minority communities.”
SAALt also said: “Over the past few months, more members of Congress have been condemning racial and religious profiling and urging the federal government to institute robust anti-profiling policies.”
SAALT pointed out that Senator Durbin convened the first Senate hearing on profiling since the September 11th tragedy; 68 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Justice to strengthen its existing racial profiling guidance; and Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey has introduced a resolution condemning the NYPD spying on Muslim communities.
SAALT is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that elevates the voices and perspectives of South Asian individuals and organizations to build a more just and inclusive society in the United States. SAALT is the coordinating entity of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of 42 organizations that serve, organize, and advocate on behalf of the South Asian community across the country.