NNAAC appalled by DOJ revised guidance on use of race by federal law enforcement

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The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) joins national groups including South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), The Sikh Coalition, Rights Working Group and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans in our outrage and dismay with the news accounts on the soon-to-be released Department of Justice revised guidance on the use of race by federal law enforcement agencies. 

While the new guidance includes religion and national origin as protected categories, an area for which NNAAC has advocated and worked for the past 10 years, the guidance falls short for many communities of color. As written, the guidance exempts entire agencies like the Department of Homeland Security — the largest law enforcement agency  which includes border patrol and the FBI and is notorious for racial, ethnic and religious profiling.

The Obama Administration had an opportunity to take bold action to address profiling but instead created a road-map for federal agencies on how to profile and who to profile. In the wake of the police killings of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, it is extremely problematic that this new guidance does not apply to local and state law enforcement agencies and does not address the national epidemic of racial profiling that leads to police brutality and the unwarranted surveillance of American Muslim communities.

NNAAC’s view is that this new guidance creates a two-tiered system of agencies that can and cannot discriminate, which is a huge setback for civil rights in the U.S. Our government is now officially giving the agencies that most interact with Arabs, Muslims and Latinos a special license to discriminate. It sets an appalling precedent for future generations. We are extremely disappointed to know that this is the legacy of choice for Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama. NNAAC will continue to work to end racial and religious profiling and demand that Congress pass the End Racial Profiling Act, which prohibits profiling based on race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin by federal, state and local law enforcement.

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