Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, the Arab American Institute and nine other civil and human rights organizations issued a statement in response to a proposed change to the Department of Justice’s guidance on the use of profiling by federal law enforcement officers. AAI, in addition to several coalition partners, has been advocating for changes to the DOJ’s guidance since 2003, to include a prohibition of profiling on the basis of national origin and religion and to close the national security loophole.  

The proposed changes were highlighted in a New York Times article yesterday which detailed changes to include a prohibition of profiling on the basis of “not just race, but religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation.” But what’s disappointing and troubling is that the proposed revisions will continue to allow the FBI to use nationality “to map neighborhoods, recruit informants, or look for foreign spies.”

“The Bush administration guidance on racial profiling was inadequate when it was first released in 2003 and is even more inadequate now,” signed the civil and human rights groups. “The guidance affects millions of everyday Americans from a wide range of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. This 11-year-old policy requires significant reforms to correct the huge gaps in protection and carve outs for ineffective policing…The FBI should focus on actual criminal suspects and national security threats, not on targeting entire communities based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion….Racial profiling is unlawful and an ineffective law enforcement practice that violates the human rights of the people targeted. It’s time for the administration to propose a meaningful update to this policy.”

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