WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of sweeping, draconian changes to immigration enforcement and detention policies under the Trump Administration, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced the PROFILED Act, legislation that would guarantee basic due process rights and protections for any individual detained because of a suspected immigration violation or during an immigration-related enforcement action. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
“Families have already been torn apart by the Trump Administration’s overzealous deportation policy, and there is a growing concern that American citizens and lawful residents are being detained by ICE agents and even deported. America cannot stand for this mistreatment,” said Sen. Menendez. “Our laws must be enforced in a manner that doesn’t undermine the civil rights of American or immigrant families by targeting them just because of the color of their skin. The federal government has a responsibility to create a national immigration system that upholds our nation’s values of liberty and justice for all, and that is why we are introducing this legislation. All immigrants—permanent residents, refugees and citizens alike—must be afforded the same fundamental right to due process, the same protections, and the same faith that the system works fairly for everyone. We’ve already asked Republicans to work with us on this effort and will continue to seek ways to convince them to join.”
“The dangerous pattern of anti-immigrant executive actions taken by President Trump in his first weeks in office must not go unanswered,” said Senator Booker. “This bill, which joins other efforts to turn the tide on these injustices, would bar racial profiling, end unlawful detention of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, and ensure that individuals who are unlawfully detained for suspected immigration violations or due to immigration enforcement actions have access to critical legal protections that must be guaranteed by our justice system. This administration shows no sign of slowing its pursuit of policies that stand counter to both common sense and fundamental American values, and so we will continue our fight to protect our communities and our country.”
“This bill would push back against the inhumane and potentially unlawful treatment that is happening more and more under the Trump Administration to many immigrant families,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We have an obligation to make sure that all people in our country are protected by our laws and have access to due process, and there should be no exceptions to that rule. I am proud to support this legislation and I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure our immigration policies reflect our values and protect the human rights and civil rights of immigrant families.”
“The Trump Administration’s executive orders that target our immigrant communities undermine our nation’s core values, compromise public safety, and hurt our economy,” said Sen. Harris. “Individuals who have entered or come to the United States deserve protection from unlawful detention, deportation, and racial biases. This is especially important for our most vulnerable populations, including women and children at risk of being separated as a result of detention. I stand with our immigrant communities and will continue to advocate on their behalf.”
“Targeting American citizens, immigrants and refugees because of the way they look goes against the very founding ideas of who we are as Americans. It’s only right that when people are unfairly targeted by law enforcement in our country, they have the full protection of our laws,” added Sen. Wyden. “Communities should not be bullied into enforcing arbitrarily harsh federal immigration policies, which make us less safe. Effective policing requires trust between law enforcement and community members, and this bill is a step toward rebuilding that trust.”
The PROFILED Act aims to protect people like Bernardo Medina, an American citizen who spent three days in an immigration detention center because ICE didn’t think “he looked like” he was born in the United States and “suspected” him of being a Mexican citizen living in this country illegally. The bill also ensures victims of domestic violence, like the recent case of a Texas woman, can safely go to a courthouse and seek a civil protection order against their abuser without fearing that ICE will show up and detain them.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), EarthJustice and 152 others have endorsed this legislation.
“This bill is a necessary antidote to curb DHS’s unchecked immigration enforcement powers,” added Joanne Lin, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “In 2017, immigration detention rates have reached all-time highs and Homeland Security enforcement actions have been so far-reaching that they have ensnared Dreamers, homeless people leaving a church shelter, and even a domestic violence survivor obtaining a restraining order in court. These due process violations have occurred because there are virtually no controls or regulations governing DHS’s conduct. All immigrants and all Americans are entitled to a government that abides by the Constitution and protects their right to due process."
"In its zeal to enact its xenophobic mass deportation agenda, the Trump administration has shown a blatant disregard for due process or other basic rights,” said Marielena Hincapi é, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “We applaud Senator Menendez and his colleagues for fighting to prevent profiling from happening any longer. This bill would help put protections in place to uphold the basic rights of all immigrants, lawful permanent residents and citizens.”
“The PROFILED Act will bring unprecedented accountability, transparency, and oversight to the ICE apprehension and detention process and simultaneously stop the construction of President Trump’s divisive border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The misguided border wall, the militarization of the border, and the criminalization of immigrants are all part of Trump’s radical xenophobic agenda, and LULAC applauds the efforts of Senator Menendez to stand up against these policies and champion the interests of our community.” added Brent Wilkes, LULAC National Executive Director.
The President’s border wall and immigration policies are nothing short of harassment. Harassment somehow justified by vilifying border and immigrant communities as the Administration eliminates critical due process and environmental protections. We applaud Senator Menendez and the other cosponsors of the PROFILED Act for standing up to such bullying. The bill would reduce the militarization of the border by stopping the construction of a costly border wall and providing long overdue reforms for better transparency and accountability,” concluded Raul Garcia, Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice.
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.