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Sikh Coalition Rejects Flawed and Misleading DOJ Racial Profiling Guidance

For Immediate Release

 

Press Contact: Mark Reading-Smith

Media & Communications Director, The Sikh Coalition

Mark@sikhcoalition.org, 202-380-8489

 


Although the new guidance explicitly recognizes that discriminatory profiling is “unfair” and “ineffective,” and that biased practices “promote mistrust of law enforcement, and perpetuate negative and harmful stereotypes” – it still allows discriminatory profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Both agencies are components of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the largest law enforcement agency in the federal government.

“This guidance is like a used car with new paint. The car looks better, but once you look underneath the hood, you realize it’s unsafe to drive,” said Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition.

The new guidance also does not apply to state and local law enforcement activities and will not address gaps in trust at the grassroots level between police and the communities they serve.

“This is one step forward, ten steps back,” said Rajdeep. “The new guidance recognizes that profiling is wrong but then gives CBP a green light to profile ethnic and religious minorities at the border, and continues to give TSA carte blanche authority to profile travelers based on stereotypes.”

Since the inception of TSA, the Sikh Coalition has led efforts to promote accountability at the agency, in particular by repeatedly demanding an independent audit of TSA screening practices to prevent discriminatory profiling. In response to persistent complaints of profiling from turbaned Sikhs at American airports, the Sikh Coalition in April 2012 launched a free smartphone app called FlyRights, which allows travelers of any background to file official complaints with the TSA. In the last year alone, the Sikh Coalition secured re-training of TSA personnel after the agency mistreated three turbaned Sikh travelers.

To interview or speak on background today with Sikh Coalition experts please contact Mark Reading-Smith. The Sikh Coalition has been working to combat issues of racial profiling since 2001.

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About the Sikh Coalition

The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. In particular, we work towards a world where Sikhs may freely practice and enjoy their faith while fostering strong relations with their local community wherever they may be.

We pursue our mission by:

  • Providing direct legal services to persons whose civil or human rights are violated;
  • Advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights;
  • Promoting appreciation for diversity through education; and
  • Fostering civic engagement in order to promote local community empowerment

With a full-time staff of 10 and offices in New York City, Fremont, CA and Washington D.C., we are the most-staffed Sikh organization in the history of the United States.

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