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NASABA Comes Out In Support of ERPA 2011, The End Racial Profiling Act

January 23, 2012

The North American South Asian Bar Association joins the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California in denouncing the use of racial and religious profiling in all contexts and supports the quick passage of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 (ERPA 2011), introduced as H.R. 3618 by Representative John Conyers (a companion bill to S. 1670). 

End Racial Profiling Acts have been introduced into Congress in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010, each time failing to achieve passage.  Given the increased instances of profiling faced by members of the South Asian community over the past decade, it is past time to implement the necessary provisions of ERPA 2011.  NASABA urges its passage without delay. 
Since September 11, 2001, South Asian, Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu communities in the United States have been targeted with heightened scrutiny by law enforcement based on their nationality, religion, race or ethnicity.  Examples include frequent searches by airport security and border inspection officers, mandatory registration of certain male nationals from predominantly Muslim-majority countries under the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, and intrusive surveillance of South Asian places of worship by federal and local law enforcement agencies.
ERPA 2011 is a comprehensive attempt to eliminate these insidious examples of profiling.  It attacks the harmful impacts of profiling by prohibiting various practices in the travel and surveillance contexts; requiring training and data collection on profiling for entities receiving federal law enforcement funding; supporting law enforcement initiatives that do not result in profiling; establishing complaint mechanisms; creating privacy protections for individuals whose data is collected; and allowing affected individuals to file lawsuits to seek redress.
Like African-American and Latino community members long affected by profiling, South Asians have become all too familiar with the pernicious effects of profiling since September 11th. Not only does profiling waste limited government resources by misdirecting scrutiny to innocent individuals, it also erodes trust between law enforcement agencies and local communities. 

 It is past time to outlaw the practice and ensure that targeted individuals can hold persons and entities engaging in racial profiling accountable. South Asians have a vital stake in the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act.  NASABA encourages community members to urge Congress to pass this crucial piece of legislation.

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