Profiling Our Families Is Unacceptable

By Cora Lively

"The LGBT community has suffered a long history of being targeted by law enforcement simply because of who we are.  Similarly, immigrants of all backgrounds have suffered, and continue to suffer, profiling under the laws of many states.  Law enforcement should never rely on a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or perceived LGBT identity.”

Immigration Equality Executive Director, Rachel B. Tiven, Testimony Submitted to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, April 12 2012

In our fight for LGBT immigrant individuals and families, Immigration Equality has repeatedly encountered the profiling of our clients by law enforcement. From Secure Communitiesto stop and frisk, discriminatory laws affect the health and well-being of our families, posing a threat to their safety that is unacceptable.

In April of this year, Immigration Equality Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven gave congressional testimony on the impacts of racial profiling in the lives of the families we work with. “We work with many clients who have been stopped and required to show identification simply for being within 100 miles of a U.S. border or for riding on public transportation; all of these individuals have been Latino,” she stated. Many of our clients are also profiled on perceived sexual-orientation and gender-nonconformity. This is especially true for transgender individuals, as Rachel noted, “Transgender people of color are at particular risk of being arrested on suspicion of prostitution merely for dressing in gender non-conforming clothes.” For unauthorized immigrants who are LGBT, being arrested can mean being detained in centers where they may suffer abuse due to their LGBT identity or deported to a country with a history of discrimination and violence towards LGBT people. Racial profiling can also cause distrust of law enforcement, hindering access to crucial social services and protection. For many LGBT immigrant individuals and families, racial profiling places safety and well-being on the line.

In light of this, Immigration Equality will be participating in the Rights Working Group’s Racial Profiling: Face the Truth Campaign, urging congress to pass the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011. The act includes vital protections against profiling on the basis of national origin, gender, religion and race. Immigration Equality welcomes the act’s inclusive nature with the hopes that profiling in all its forms will be outlawed as the detestable and unacceptable practice that it is.

To find out more about Immigration Equality's work or for information about our legal services, please visit our websiteor facebook page.

Cora Lively is a member of Immigration Equality’s communications team and an undergraduate student at Marlboro College. Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for  those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status. Through education, outreach, advocacy, and the maintenance of a nationwide network of resources, we provide information and support to advocates, attorneys, politicians and those who are threatened by persecution or the discriminatory impact of the law.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rights Working Group.

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