The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Coalition letter regarding revisions to DOJ Guidance

Advocacy Letter - 10/31/14

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: President Barack Obama

View the PDF of this letter here.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Strengthened Revisions to the Department of Justice’s Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the undersigned 107 organizations, we respectfully renew our request for strengthened revisions to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies (“the Guidance”). DOJ should revise its June 2003 Guidance to clarify ambiguities, close loopholes, and eliminate provisions that allow for any form of discriminatory profiling.

In 2003, the Guidance was an important step forward in clarifying DOJ’s position on racial profiling in law enforcement when it was crafted under President Bush and former Attorney General Ashcroft. The need to address the shortcomings that were present at the time of its drafting is even greater now as a result of the proliferation of new forms of law enforcement tools and techniques, new state laws that target specific communities, and federal programs that involve state and local law enforcement in civil immigration enforcement.

Discriminatory profiling involves the unwarranted screening of certain groups of people, assumed by the police and other law enforcement agents to be predisposed to criminal behavior. Multiple studies have proven that profiling results in the misallocation of law enforcement resources and therefore the failure to identify actual crimes that are planned and committed. In addition, by relying on stereotypes rather than proven investigative procedures, the lives of innocent people are needlessly harmed by law enforcement agencies and officials.

Profiling affects our diverse communities, and in light of the recent high-profile events in Ferguson, Missouri and other areas of the country, we urge you to do everything in your power to support revisions to the Guidance. It is critical that the Guidance: 1) prohibits profiling based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation; 2) applies to state and local law enforcement agencies that work in partnership with the federal government or receive federal funding; 3) covers surveillance activities; 4) is enforceable and 5) closes loopholes for border integrity and national security, as these broad exceptions essentially sanction profiling in border communities and anywhere that a national security justification can be invoked. Ending the border integrity and national security exceptions is important to protect groups who may be stopped by border patrol and immigration enforcement agents for suspected immigration violations for no reason other than their skin color.

As President, you have commented on the pain and humiliation you once experienced as a result of being profiled and during his tenure, Attorney General Holder has expressed his personal commitment to ending racial profiling. For five years, it has been under DOJ review even though its adoption remains as critical as ever. The undersigned organizations ask that DOJ adopt the five recommended revisions to strengthen the existing Guidance. As organizations that support the administration’s commitment to equal protection and due process values, we look forward to working with DOJ to ensure that profiling is banned in all forms of law enforcement activity.

We look forward to imminent action by this administration to revise the Guidance and to close the loopholes. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin at (202) 466-3311 or zirkin@civilrights.org or Lexer Quamie at (202) 466-3648 or email quamie@civilrights.org. Thank you for your consideration.  Thank you for your consideration.



National Organizations

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

9to5, National Association of Working Women

Advocates for Youth

African American Ministers in Action

American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity

American Civil Liberties Union

American Humanist Association

American Immigration Lawyers Association

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Best Practices Policy Project

Blacks in Law Enforcement of America

Brennan Center for Justice

Campaign for Youth Justice

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Equality Federation

Family Equality Council

Farmworker Justice

Friends Committee on National Legislation


Hmong National Development, Inc.

Human Rights Campaign


Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

League of United Latin American Citizens


Marriage Equality USA

Muslim Advocates

Muslim Public Affairs Council


NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

National Action Network

National African American Drug Policy Coalition Inc.

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

National Employment Law Project

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Guestworker Alliance (NGA)

National Hispanic Media Coalition

National Immigration Forum

National Immigration Law Center

National Korean American Service and Education Consortium

National Lawyers Guild

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Minority AIDS Council

National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC)

National Organization for Women

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

National Urban League

OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates

People For the American Way

PFLAG National


Prison Policy Initiative

Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Rights Working Group

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Southern Border Communities Coalition

The Equity Project

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

The Sikh Coalition

Trans People of Color Coalition

Transgender Law Center

True Colors Fund


Voices for Freedom



State and Local Organizations

Alliance San Diego (San Diego, California)    

Annunciation House, Inc. (El Paso, Texas)

Arab American Association of New York (New York, New York)

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) (Dearborn, Michigan)

Basic Rights Oregon (Eugene, Oregon)

DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center (New York, New York)

El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Empowerment Temple AME Church (Baltimore, Maryland)

Engaging Latino Communities for Education – Southern (Las Cruces, New Mexico)

Equality New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Equality Ohio (Columbus, Ohio)

Equality South Dakota (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Fair Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin)

Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network (Cleveland, Ohio)

Interfaith Center for Worker Justice (San Diego, California)

Jesuit Social Research Institute (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Los Angeles LGBT Center (Los Angeles, California)

MassEquality (Boston, Massachusetts)

Media Literacy Project (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

New Mexico Voices for Children (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) (New York, New York)

OneAmerica (Seattle, Washington)

Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project (El Paso, Texas)

PROMO (St. Louis, Missouri)

Religious of the Assumption (Chaparral, New Mexico)

Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) (San Jose, California)

South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI) (Chicago, Illinois)

Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry (Bluffton, South Carolina)

Young Women United (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Our Members