Time to Close the Immigration Loophole: End Illegal Profiling

Advocates submit policy guidance to DHS to close profiling loophole

BY BTL STAFF

At critical moment, as Obama Administration dismantles Muslim special registry, guidelines to end profiling in immigration enforcement gains urgency and momentum. On Dec. 29, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance submitted a widely supported policy guidance to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to prohibit profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, language, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Following a year of relentless advocacy by NQAPIA, staff from the President's Domestic Policy Council requested the model guidance language. In this time of political uncertainty and uneasiness, the administration's recent dismantling of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System - which gave rise to "special registration" that targeted Muslims and devastated immigrant communities after the Sept. 11 attacks - was

welcomed by advocates.

"LGBTQ communities of color that NQAPIA represents have faced an unprecedented acceleration of violence and continue to be mistreated and singled out at airports, local neighborhoods, and peaceful gatherings," said Sasha W., NQAPIA Organizing Director.

"Now is the time for DHS to build upon the elimination of NSEERS and close the loophole to prohibit profiling in immigration enforcement," said Glenn Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.

He continued, "Currently there is no policy against profiling in immigration enforcement. The U.S Department of Justice issued a guidance in 2014 barring profiling, but exempted the DHS and its agencies. As a matter of federal public policy, it is actually permissible for TSA, ICE, and CBP to assert that someone is a threat based on no other information other than what is profiled."

A Model for Change

For the past year, racial justice and immigrant rights advocates have been pushing to close this gaping loophole. To assist in this effort, NQAPIA developed the model guidance language to enact desperately needed protections against profiling. The model guidance prohibits DHS and its agencies from using race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity as the sole basis for monitoring, investigating, stopping, detaining, questioning, or searching an individual, or placing an individual into detention or removal proceedings.

It also details:

- Examples of inappropriate uses of profiling in border security, national security, and

state and local law enforcement.

- A complaint process for addressing allegations of profiling.

- A remedy for when inappropriate profiling is used. Resulting detention or deportation should be deemed improper and revoked, as already exists in criminal proceedings where wrongfully obtained evidence is suppressed.

Racial profiling has been used in federal programs that have ravaged communities of color such as the "War on Drugs," "War on Terror," and in immigration enforcement abuses that created laws like Arizona's SB1070 and other collaborations between ICE and local law enforcement. Profiling has been widely rejected both on moral grounds and because of its ineffectiveness.

Republican President George W. Bush issued the first set of federal guidance barring profiling in law enforcement in 2003. There is widespread and bipartisan support against profiling and support for closing the DOJ loophole.

To that end, NQAPIA delivered over a thousand postcards and hundreds of e-petition signatures to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, demonstrating mass-based support for the end of profiling in DHS. NQAPIA also organized a protest on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 demanding an end to legalized profiling.

"There is no more urgent time than now to close the profiling loophole and end illegal profiling. We urge the President to take immediate action on this issue," concluded Magpantay.


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