Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Blog

The Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill (S.744) is currently in markup. Since the beginning of the national push for comprehensive immigration reform, we, along with our friends in Washington, have been working hard to make sure that any legislation includes provisions to protect Arab Americans and other communities impacted by racial profiling. As currently written, S. 744 addresses profiling based on race or ethnicity, but it also has two major problems: First, it doesn't address profiling based on religion or national origin. And second, more importantly, it preserves the national security loophole that has allowed profiling against Arab Americans, American Muslims and others to go on unfettered over the last decade.

Next week, an amendment (EAS13375) by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) may be considered that would close the national security loophole and add religion and national origin to the proposed prohibitions on racial and ethnic profiling. This amendment would be a game changer, but our efforts must go beyond that. Please use this opportunity to contact your representatives and educate them about the need to ban profiling in all its forms. Support the Hirono Amendment and other efforts that seek to ensure all communities are protected and treated equally under the law.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your senators to support Senator Hirono’s Racial Profiling Amendment and other efforts to ban profiling. Profiling is un-American and ineffective - and it certainly has no place in our immigration system.

Below is AAI's summary of Senator Hirono's Amendment:

Hirono’s Racial Profiling Amendment (EAS3375) to Section 3305

More than three hundred amendments have been filed to the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. Among the many amendments under consideration is one that would dramatically alter the who and how of profiling.  The current draft of the bill includes a section on profiling that contains language expressly prohibiting profiling by federal law enforcement based on race or ethnicity. 

What the Hirono amendment will do:

Will expand the profiling language in the current bill to prohibit profiling by federal law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion and national origin

Will close the national security loophole that has allowed profiling to go unfettered against Arab Americans, American Muslims, and others

The bill as it stands with Section 3305 will essentially codify the troubling Ashcroft guidance by not prohibiting profiling on the basis of religion or national origin.