Message From Senator Durbin

Thank you for contacting me about racial profiling. I appreciate hearing from you and share your concerns about this important issue.


Throughout my time in Congress, I have supported efforts to eliminate racial profiling. Law enforcement agencies and officers should not make law enforcement decisions based on race.

I am an original cosponsor of the End Racial Profiling Act of 2007 (S. 2481). This legislation would prohibit racial profiling by law enforcement agents and agencies and would provide for enforcement of this law in civil court. It also would require law enforcement agencies that receive federal grants to maintain adequate policies and procedures to eliminate racial profiling. The bill would further require the Attorney General to report annually to Congress on racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.


I also was an original cosponsor of the Equal Rights and Equal Dignity for Americans Act. An important provision in this legislation would require law enforcement agencies to take steps to prevent racial profiling. The measure also expressed the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact legislation to ban racial profiling.


In addition, I introduced the Reasonable Search Standards Act in 2000 and 2001 in response to a U.S. General Accounting Office report I requested that concluded women and minorities were being disproportionately targeted for intrusive Customs searches. This measure would have prohibited Customs Service personnel from searching or detaining individuals based on their race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation. Although the Senate did not pass this bill, it prompted the Customs Service to take some important steps toward preventing unfairness in its search practices.


I will continue to support efforts to eliminate racial profiling and to promote the just and equal enforcement of our laws. We can protect our security without sacrificing our commitment to treating all people fairly.


Thank you again for your message. Please feel free to stay in touch.


Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator




P.S. If you are ever visiting Washington, please feel free to join me and other members of the Illinois Congressional delegation at our weekly constituent coffee. When the Senate is in session, we provide coffee and donuts every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. as we hear what is on the minds of Illinoisans and respond to your questions. We would welcome your participation. Please call my D.C. office for more details.


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