May 14, 2001

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) gave its strong endorsement of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2001.

"The practice of racial profiling has violated the civil rights of scores of innocent American citizens and has eroded trust between law enforcement and minority communities," noted Raul Yzaguirre, NCLR President. "That alone should be reason enough to stop the practice. Furthermore, recent data from the General Accounting Office and the New York State Attorney General and reports from many in law enforcement themselves have shown that racial profiling is an ineffective law enforcement tool. In other words, you would have more success finding criminal activity if you were to stop every seventh car or people wearing blue shirts than if you use racial and ethnic profiles. Thus, from both a civil rights and a law enforcement perspective, ending racial profiling definitely falls under the category of a 'no brainer.'"

"We are especially pleased that for the first time ever in such legislation, this act would explicitly ban profiling on the federal level. This is vital to the Latino community, which is subjected not only to racial and ethnic profiling by local law enforcement but also by the INS, the DEA, and the U.S. Customs Service." A March 2000 GAO report found that Hispanic female U.S. citizens were four to nine times more likely than White female U.S. citizens to be subjected to X-rays after being frisked or patted down. Moreover, a 2001 New York Times study of INS enforcement files in New York found that the agency explicitly used ethnic criteria to target its enforcement activities.
The legislation also encourages state and local law enforcement agencies to end the practice in a responsible and constructive manner by providing incentive grants to foster compliance. These grants would provide for technology to facilitate the collection of racial profiling data and training to encourage more respectful interaction with the public.

"No tool in fighting crime is more vital to members of the law enforcement community than the trust and cooperation of those they protect. Racial profiling and other types of harassment and abuse have undermined that trust to an intolerable extent. That is why this legislation has bipartisan support and support from members of the law enforcement community," continued Yzaguirre.

"We urge the swift passage of this critical legislation. Both President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft have promised to end racial profiling. We hope and expect that they will live up to this commitment by supporting this legislation. We applaud Senator Feingold and Representative Conyers for taking the lead on this bill, Senators Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) for their leadership, and Representatives Jim Greenwood (R-PA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Christopher Sharp (R-CT) for their support," concluded Yzaguirre.

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