Washington, DC — On Thursday, May 25, the U.S. Department of Justice released revised guidelines for identity-based profiling. That day also marked three years since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Policy Counsel Sumayyah Waheed:
“In response to outcry and protest from communities of color, a chorus of advocates have spent years calling for a definitive and complete ban on racial and religious profiling by federal law enforcement. Muslim Advocates joins that critical effort because, as the Justice Department itself acknowledges, law enforcement must be ‘fair and unbiased’ in order to be effective. The revised guidelines make some meaningful improvements that we and others have long called for: adding disability to the list of protected traits, narrowing the gaping loopholes that permit profiling in national security contexts and applying the guidelines to state and local police members of federal law enforcement task forces and to non-law enforcement federal personnel supporting federal law enforcement and intelligence activity. However, the revisions fall short of completely banning identity-based profiling, and runs the risk of allowing for biased decision making in broadly defined circumstances where Muslim and communities of color are uniquely vulnerable to discriminatory targeting such as at the border and in the use of watchlists.
What happened to George Floyd, and the previous and subsequent murders of so many more Black people and other people of color by the police, shine a harsh light on the dangers of profiling by law enforcement. As we mark three years since Mr. Floyd’s brutal murder, it is more important than ever that the government unequivocally signal that identity-based profiling is not only dangerous, it also doesn’t work. While we welcome progress on banning profiling, we also know that we must be vigilant to ensure proper implementation and that our full demands are met.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.