End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2019 - S. 2355

116th Congress: H.R. 4339; S. 2355

The Problem

Recent incidents of racial and religious profiling with tragic results have brought renewed national attention to this issue that exists in every corner of the country. Unfortunately, new incidents of profiling by law enforcement continue to be reported at an alarming rate. Profiling of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals also continues to be a problem, particularly for LGBTQ people of color and members of the transgender community. A study by Lambda Legal, “Protected and Served?” found that a quarter of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV who reported in-person contact with law enforcement said they experienced harassment or misconduct—including profiling, verbal or physical assault, sexual harassment, or false arrest. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey reported that 49 percent of transgender individuals who interacted with officers who thought or knew they were transgender were addressed using the wrong gender pronouns or titles. In addition, 20 percent were verbally harassed, 4 percent physically assaulted, and 3 percent sexually assaulted by officers.

Police misconduct, when left unchecked, not only stigmatizes law enforcement agencies that, on the whole, seek to serve the community with integrity, but also fosters mistrust between the community and police that is difficult to repair.

What is the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act?

The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act would prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from targeting a person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation without trustworthy information that is relevant to linking a person to a crime. The bill would require law enforcement to maintain adequate policies and procedures designed to eliminate profiling, including increased data collection in order to accurately assess the extent of the problem. The bill would also require training for law enforcement officials on issues of profiling and mandate the creation of procedures for receiving, investigating, and responding to complaints of alleged profiling.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The End Racial Profiling Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on September 16, 2019. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) on July 31, 2019, as the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2019.

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other federal legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: March 10, 2020