Advocacy Week Asks: End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 and DOJ Guidance

During the National End Racial Profiling Advocacy Week, April 16-20, 2012, we will urge Congress to take decisive action by co-sponsoring the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 and by putting pressure on the Department of Justice to reform its 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race and Ethnicity by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. For details on how to discuss these issues during a legislative meeting, please see the 2013 Advocacy Toolkit.

Pass the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011

The End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 (ERPA) is federal legislation that would ban racial profiling across the United States. ERPA was introduced in the House by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and in the Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) in 2011. 

ERPA takes these steps to ban racial profiling:

  • Makes it unlawful for federal, state, local, or Indian tribal law enforcement to profile based on race, religion, ethnicity or national origin;
  • Creates a private right of action for victims of profiling, which would allow individuals who believe they have been subject to racial profiling to sue the agent or agency they believe to have violated ERPA;
  • Allows the U.S. Attorney General to withhold grants from state law enforcement agencies that are not complying with ERPA;
  • Requires training on racial profiling for law enforcement agents;
  • Requires data collection and monitoring mechanisms such as complaint processes; and
  • For the first time, ERPA prohibits racial profiling in the context of law enforcement surveillance activities.
 
Resources on ERPA:

 

Revise the 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race and Ethnicity by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

Members of Congress must urge the Department of Justice to strengthen its Guidance on racial profiling. Currently, the 2003 DOJ Guidance contains a number of loopholes that undermine its stated purpose of eliminating racial profiling by law enforcement. The Guidance should be revised in the following ways:

  • Include a ban on profiling based on national origin or religion; 
  • Eliminate loopholes that current allow for racial profiling in the name of national security and border security;
  • Expand the ban on racial profiling to cover law enforcement surveillance activites;
  • Include enforceable standards and accountability mechanisms;
  • Apply to state and local law enforcement agencies working in cooperation with federal agencies or receiving federal funds.

Resources on the DOJ Guidance:

 

ADVOCACY WEEK   l  WAYS TO PARTICIPATE  l  TOOLKIT

 

Sponsored by:

Co-sponsored by: the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Muslim Advocates and South Asian Americans Leading Together.