(Senate - October 13, 2011)

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[Pages S6481-S6482]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            RACIAL PROFILING

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, last week I introduced legislation in the 
Senate that would prohibit the use of racial profiling by Federal, 
State, or local law enforcement agencies. The End Racial Profiling Act, 
S. 1670, had been introduced in previous Congresses by our former 
colleague, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and I am proud to follow 
his leadership. I thank my colleagues, Senator Blumenthal, Senator 
Durbin, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Kerry, Senator Lautenberg, Senator 
Levin, Senator Menendez, Senator Mikulski, and Senator Stabenow, for 
joining me as original cosponsors of this legislation.
  Racial profiling is ineffective. The more resources that are spent 
investigating individuals solely because of their race or religion, the 
fewer resources that are being directed at suspects actually 
demonstrating illegal behavior.
  In response to a question about the December 2001 bomb attempt by 
Richard Reid, Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael 
Chertoff stated:

       The problem is that the profile many people think they have 
     of what a terrorist is doesn't fit the reality . . . and, in 
     fact, one of the things that the enemy does is to 
     deliberately recruit people who are Western in background or 
     in appearance, so that they can slip by people who might be 

  Racial profiling diverts scarce resources from real law enforcement. 
In my own State of Maryland in the 1990s, the ACLU brought a class 
action suit against the Maryland State Police for illegally targeting 
African-American motorists for stops and searches along Maryland's 
highways. The parties ultimately entered into a Federal court consent 
decree in 2003 in which they made a joint statement that emphasized in 

       The need to treat motorists of all races with respect, 
     dignity, and fairness under law is fundamental to good police 
     work and a just society. The parties agree that racial 
     profiling is unlawful and undermines public safety by 
     alienating communities.

  Racial profiling demonizes entire communities and perpetuates 
negative stereotypes based on an individual's race, ethnicity, or 
  I agree with Attorney General Holder's remark to the American-Arab 
Anti-Discrimination Committee where he stated:

       In this Nation, security and liberty are--at their best--
     partners, not enemies, in ensuring safety and opportunity for 
     all . . . In this Nation, the document that sets forth the 
     supreme law of the land--the Constitution--is meant to 
     empower, not exclude . . . Racial profiling is wrong. It can 
     leave a lasting scar on communities and individuals. And it 
     is, quite simply, bad policing--whatever city, whatever 

  Using racial profiling makes it less likely that certain affected 
communities will voluntary cooperate with law enforcement and community 
policing efforts. Minorities living and working in these communities 
may also feel discouraged from traveling freely, and it corrodes the 
public trust in government.

  I wish to thank the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 
for their endorsement of this legislation. I ask unanimous consent that 
the endorsement letter of September 14, 2011, from over 50 different 
organizations be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                         The Leadership Conference

                                    on Civil and Human Rights,

                                    Washington, DC, Sept. 14, 2011

             Cosponsor the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011

       Dear Senator: on behalf of The Leadership Conference on 
     Civil and Human Rights, and the undersigned groups, we urge 
     you to be an original cosponsor of the End Racial Profiling 
     Act of 2011 (ERPA). Passage of this bill is needed to put an 
     end to racial profiling by law enforcement officials and to 
     ensure that individuals are not prejudicially stopped, 
     investigated, arrested, or detained based on their race, 
     ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Policies primarily 
     designed to impact certain groups are ineffective and often 
     result in the destruction of civil liberties for everyone.
       ERPA would establish a prohibition on racial profiling, 
     enforceable by declaratory or injunctive relief. The 
     legislation would mandate training for federal law 
     enforcement officials on racial profiling issues.As a 
     condition of receiving federal funding, state, local, and 
     Indian tribal law enforcement agencies would be required to 
     collect data on both routine and spontaneous investigatory 
     activities. The Department of Justice would be authorized to 
     provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies 
     for the development and implementation of best policing 
     practices, such as early warning systems, technology 
     integration, and other management protocols that discourage 
     profiling. Lastly, this important legislation would require 
     the Attorney General to issue periodic reports to Congress 
     assessing the nature of any ongoing racial profiling.
       Racial profiling involves the unwarranted screening of 
     certain groups of people, assumed by the police and other law 
     enforcement agents to be predisposed to criminal behavior. 
     Multiple studies have proven that racial profiling results in 
     the misallocation of law enforcement resources and therefore 
     a failure to identify actual crimes that are planned and 
     committed. By relying on stereotypes rather than proven 
     investigative procedures, the lives of innocent people are 
     needlessly harmed by law enforcement agencies and officials.
       Racial profiling results in a loss of trust and confidence 
     in local, state, and federal law enforcement. Although most 
     individuals are taught from an early age that the role of law 
     enforcement is to fairly defend and guard communities from 
     people who want to cause harm to others, this fundamental 
     message is often contradicted when these same defenders are 
     seen as unnecessarily and unjustifiably harassing innocent 
     citizens. Criminal investigations are flawed and hindered 
     because people and communities impacted by these stereotypes 
     are less likely to cooperate with law enforcement agencies 
     they have grown to mistrust. We can begin to reestablish 
     trust in law enforcement if we act now.
       Current federal law enforcement guidance and state laws 
     provide incomplete solutions to the pervasive nationwide 
     problem of racial profiling.
       Your support for the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 is 
     critical to its passage. We urge you to become an original 
     co-sponsor of this vital legislation, which will ensure that 
     federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are 
     prohibited from impermissibly considering race, ethnicity, 
     national origin, or religion in carrying out law enforcement 
     activities. To become an original co-sponsor, please contact 
     Bill Van Horne in Senator Cardin's office at 
     [email protected]
     .senate.gov or (202) 224-4524. If you have any questions, 
     please feel free to contact Lexer Quamie at (202) 466-3648 or 
     Nancy Zirkin at (202) 263-2880. Thank you for your valued 
     consideration of this critical legislation.
       Adhikaar; African American Ministers in Action; American-
     Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; American Civil Liberties 
     Union; American Humanist Association; Asian American Justice 
     Center, member of Asian American Center for Advancing 
     Justice; Asian Law Caucus; Asian Pacific American Labor 
     Alliance; Bill of Rights Defense Committee; The Brennan 
     Center for Justice; Counselors Helping (South) Asians Inc; 
     Disciples Justice Action Network; Drug Policy Alliance.
       DRUM--Desis Rising Up and Moving; Healing Communities 
     Prison Ministry and Reentry Project Human Rights Watch; Indo-
     American Center; Institute Justice Team, Sisters of Mercy of 
     the Americas; Japanese American Citizens League; Korean 
     American Resource & Cultural Center; Korean Resource Center; 
     Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; The Leadership 
     Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Lutheran Immigration 
     and Refugee Service; Muslim Advocates; Muslim Public Affairs 
     Council; NAACP; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 
       National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good 
     Shepherd; National African American Drug Policy Coalition, 
     Inc.--National Alliance of Faith and Justice; National Asian 
     American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association; National 
     Asian Pacific American Bar Association; National Asian 
     Pacific American Women's Forum; National Association of 
     Criminal Defense Lawyers; National Association of Social 
     Workers; National Black Police Association; National Congress 
     of American Indians; National

[[Page S6482]]

     Council of La Raza; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 
     Action Fund; National Korean American Service & Education 
     Consortium; NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice 
       OCA; Pax Christi USA; Rights Working Group; Sahara of South 
     Florida, Inc.Sentencing Project; Sojourners; Sikh American 
     Legal Defense and Education Fund; Sikh Coalition; Sneha, 
     Inc.; South Asian Americans Leading Together; 
     StoptheDrugWar.org; Union for Reform Judaism; United 
     Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society; UNITED 
     SIKHS; US Human Rights Network.

  Mr. CARDIN. The bill I introduced last week, the End Racial Profiling 
Act, would build on the Department of Justice's current ``Guidance 
Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies'' issued 
in 2003. This official Department of Justice guidance certainly was a 
step forward, but it does not have adequate provisions for data 
collection and enforcement for State and local agencies. The Department 
of Justice guidance also does not have the force of law.
  The legislation I introduced would prohibit the use of racial 
profiling by Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies. This 
bill clearly defines racial profiling to include race, ethnicity, 
national origin, or religion as protected classes. It requires training 
of law enforcement officers to ensure they understand the law and its 
prohibitions. It creates procedures for receiving, investigating, and 
resolving complaints about racial profiling. It would apply equally to 
Federal, State, and local law enforcement, which creates consistent 
standards at all levels of government.
  The vast majority of our law enforcement officers who put their lives 
on the line every day handle their jobs with professionalism, 
diligence, and fidelity to the rule of law. However, Congress and the 
Justice Department can still take steps to prohibit racial profiling 
and root out its use. I look forward to working with my colleagues to 
enact this very important legislation.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.