(December 8, 2014) The revised U.S. Department of Justice guidance on racial profiling to federal law enforcement contains important improvements, but significant work remains to realize the Attorney General’s goal of eliminating racial policing “once and for all.”
We are pleased that the Guidance expands the definition of profiling to now include religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity; adds FBI intelligence activities in its purview; and requires data collection and training. While these changes are welcome, it is difficult to see how the guidance will improve the lives of law-abiding American Muslims who are singled out and targeted based on their faith, not evidence of wrongdoing, by the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and other law enforcement agencies.
The Guidance still allows law enforcement to engage in massive data gathering to map communities based on race, ethnicity or religion; recruit informants based on race, religion or other protected characteristics without any known connection to criminal activity; and spy on Americans and infiltrate their houses of worship also without any evidence of wrongdoing. Furthermore, the Guidance fails to require state and local law enforcement to abide by the federal standard, except while participating in a federal law enforcement task force, and inexplicably omits the Transportation Security Administration and CBP activities at the border.
We urge the administration to finish the job by addressing these outstanding, gaping problems with the Guidance. It is more crucial than ever that the President lead by setting a uniform, national standard against profiling in all its forms.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization working on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. Through high impact lawsuits, policy advocacy, and community education, Muslim Advocates serves as a resource to empower communities and ensures that the American Muslim community is heard by the courts and leaders at the highest level of government. Visit Muslim Advocates at www.muslimadvocates.org and follow @muslimadvocates.
To learn more about the history of the DOJ’s Guidance on Racial Profiling, click here.
For a fact sheet on the revised guidance, click here.