CAPAC CHAIR CHU CALLS FOR AN END TO RACIAL PROFILING

Apr 23, 2012

As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak here today about ending racial profiling in America.  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, like other minority communities, have felt the significant effects of racial profiling throughout American history. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese American Internment and the post 9/11 racial profiling of Arabs, Sikhs, Muslims and South Asian Americans, we know what it is like to be targeted by our own government. It results in harassment, bullying, and sometimes even violence.

In the House Judiciary Committee, we recently listened to the anguished testimony of Sikh Americans constantly humiliated as they were pulled out of lines at airports because of their turbans and made to wait in  glass cages like animals on display. They were pulled into rooms to be interrogated for hours, and even infants were searched. This has forced Sikh Americans and Muslim Americans to flying less frequently or remove religious attire just to accommodate these unfairly targeted practices. 

And just last year, I was shocked to learn about the activities of New York Police Department and the CIA were secretly spying on Muslim Americans. Despite the lack of any real evidence of wrongdoing, officers were monitoring Muslim American communities and eavesdropping on families—recording everything from where they prayed to the restaurants they ate in. The NYPD entered several states in the northeast to monitor Muslim Student Organizations at college campuses.  These students had done nothing suspicious—the only thing they were guilty of was of practicing Islam. This type of behavior by law enforcement is a regression to some of the darkest periods of our history where we mistrusted our own citizens and spied on their daily lives.  And it has no place in our modern society.

When law enforcement uses racial profiling against a group, it replaces trust with fear and hurts communication.  Community and law enforcement instead need to be partners to prevent crimes and ensure the safety of all Americans. 

When the civil liberties of any group is violated, we all suffer.  In fact over 60 years ago, 120,000 Japanese Americans lost everything that they had and were relocated to isolated internment camps across the country because of hysteria and scapegoating.  In the end, not a single case of espionage was ever proven.  But there were not enough voices to speak up against this injustice. Today there must be those voices that will speak up. We must stand up for the rights of all Americans.

That is why I urge all Member of Congress to support the End Racial Profiling Act. We must protect the ideals of justice and equal protection under the law so that our country is one where no one is made to feel unsafe, unequal, or un-American because of their faith or ethnicity.  

Thank you.