by Shawn Dye, a summer intern
Having brown skin and wearing a dark turban while taking pictures outside of our nation’s Capitol building during a family vacation can get one into a lot of trouble with law enforcement officers … That is, if the current version of an amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 proposed by the House Judiciary Committee makes it through Congress.
After the proposal of H.R. 963, known as the See Something, Say Something Act, on the House floor in late July, some members of Congress have voiced important concerns. The Act, which seeks to provide immunity for reports of suspected terrorist activity or suspicious behavior and response, includes no provisions to protect Muslim Americans from racial and religious profiling that can happen when untrained citizens report what they consider to be suspicious behavior.
Rep. Judy Chu, D. Calif., was among those in the House who have recognized the need to amend the Act to ensure no one is profiled. Chu reminded the committee that, “after September 11th, more and more members of the Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian communities have been viewed as suspect based solely on religion, national origin, or attire.”