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The Issues

Revising the Department of Justice racial profiling guidelines

For over 10 years, Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and civil and human rights groups have been working to amend the 2003 Department of Justice Guidance regarding the use of race by federal law enforcement agencies. The Guidance makes clear that the federal government views racial profiling as an issue of national concern and characterizes racial profiling as an ineffective law enforcement tool and more importantly, inconsistent with the constitution and our American values.

The Guidance in its current form prohibits federal agents during the course of traditional law enforcement activities from using race and/or ethnicity in any way except in direct connection to a specific description of a suspect of a crime. We see the 2003 DOJ Guidance as a step forward, but unfortunately there are some limitations that must be remedied in order for the Guidance to declare an end to all forms of racial profiling.

The Campaign to Take on Hate will work to ensure that the Guidance is revised to:

  • Prohibit profiling based on religion and national origin
  • Eliminate loopholes that currently allow for racial and religious profiling in the name of border and national security
  • Include surveillance as an activity where profiling is prohibited
  • Ensure the Guidance applies to state and local law enforcement agencies working in partnership with federal law enforcement that receive federal funding
  • Ensure that the Guidance includes enforceable accountability measures