Racial Justice

Many com­mu­ni­ties of col­or expe­ri­ence pro­fil­ing, a dis­crim­i­na­to­ry law enforce­ment prac­tice that tar­gets indi­vid­u­als as sus­pi­cious based on race, eth­nic­i­ty, reli­gion, or nation­al ori­gin. Addi­tion­al­ly, this sanc­tioned form of dis­crim­i­na­tion fos­ters stereo­types and threat­ens com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty as tar­get­ed groups are wary to engage with law enforce­ment. Despite the fact that pro­fil­ing does not work, diverts lim­it­ed law enforce­ment resources, and under­mines com­mu­ni­ty rela­tion­ships, it is still wide­ly used by the gov­ern­ment under the guise of nation­al secu­ri­ty.

Since Sep­tem­ber 11th, Arabs, Mus­lims, Sikhs, and South Asians have increas­ing­ly faced gov­ern­ment scruti­ny based on their race, nation­al ori­gin, and reli­gion in var­i­ous are­nas. This prob­lem often takes shape in the form of being sin­gled out for exten­sive search­es when board­ing a plane, expe­ri­enc­ing FBI back­ground check delays with immi­gra­tion appli­ca­tions, and the sur­veil­lance of Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties.

South Asians have also faced pro­fil­ing through immi­gra­tion poli­cies that have focused on nation­als from cer­tain coun­tries. For exam­ple, cer­tain male nation­als from pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim and Arab coun­tries, includ­ing Bangladesh and Pak­istan, were required to reg­is­ter with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice through a pro­gram known as “spe­cial reg­is­tra­tion” in the wake of 9/11. As a result of this ini­tia­tive, near­ly 14,000 men were placed in deten­tion and depor­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings, pri­mar­i­ly for minor immi­gra­tion vio­la­tions.

Addi­tion­al­ly, the use of local and state law police to enforce immi­gra­tion laws through pro­grams, like 287(g) and Secure Com­mu­ni­ties, fur­ther pro­mote pro­fil­ing and under­mine com­mu­ni­ty rela­tions by instill­ing fear and mis­trust. Like­wise, state laws allow­ing or man­dat­ing local law enforce­ment to check the immi­gra­tion sta­tus of indi­vid­u­als they choose to stop also pro­mote the per­cep­tion of com­mu­ni­ties of col­or as sus­pi­cious or “un-Amer­i­can.”

SAALT works to increase aware­ness with­in the com­mu­ni­ty and the gov­ern­ment about the dis­crim­i­na­to­ry and inef­fec­tive nature of pro­fil­ing. Along with South Asian com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions, and Arab-Amer­i­can and Mus­lim-Amer­i­can ally orga­ni­za­tions, SAALT has called upon mem­bers of Con­gress, law enforce­ment agen­cies, and pros­e­cu­tors to end poli­cies and prac­tices that have the intent or impact of pro­fil­ing.