Immigration reform bill must include ban on racial profiling
Dear Senator Franken,
I am pleased by the momentum around immigration reform in the Senate, and applaud the bi-partisan group of Senators’ recent decision to endorse both a path to citizenship for the undocumented and a prohibition on racial profiling in their framework for an immigration bill. This call was echoed in a letter from Senators Leahy, Coons, Blumenthal and Hirono. I am writing today to urge you to ensure that any immigration reform bill include a strong prohibition on racial profiling, and other important accountability and oversight measures.
Racial profiling by law enforcement has increased at an alarming rate in communities across the country, partially fueled by the extraordinary escalation of immigration enforcement measures that the federal government has spearheaded over the past decade. The "enforcement first" approach adopted by government has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2005, transferred immigration enforcement duties to local and state police throughout the country, and increased the federal budget for immigration enforcement to unprecedented levels, all without establishing meaningful protections against racial profiling and other human rights abuses.
Escalation without protection has led to countless examples of human and civil rights abuses. Border Patrol agents along the Southern and Northern borders have been known to board buses and trains that cross no national border and demand detailed immigration papers from people of color, including U.S. citizens and international university students. The Criminal Alien Program, 287(g), Secure Communities, and other federal programs that increase collaboration between federal and local law enforcement have led to a documented increase in pre-textual stops targeting Latinos and other perceived to be "foreign", in order to check their immigration status. As a result, people are afraid to travel or even contact the police when they are the victim of or witness to a crime.
With bipartisan support for immigration reform, and strong proposals that protect the civil and human rights of all, I am hopeful that your leadership on the Senate Judiciary Committee will result in an immigration reform bill that not only provides a clear path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented living in the U.S., but also includes a strong prohibition on racial profiling, and other important accountability and oversight measures. Thank you for your attention to this important matter, I look forward to hearing from you.
Your name and address here