Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Duluth), the only Latino democrat in the Georgia General Assembly, is calling for passage of legislation to end racial profiling in Georgia. After attending a forum in Gwinnett County on August 1, 2009, hosted by the ACLU of Georgia and ABLE (Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment), where attendees shared stories of verbal abuse, harassment and alleged civil rights violations, his resolve for ending such practices intensified.
"In a country where our President is African American and the newest Supreme Court Justice is Latina, we can no longer tolerate practices such as Driving While Black or Driving While Brown. I understand the challenges law enforcement officials face to protect and serve citizens, but racial profiling is not a solution to fighting crime. It only creates more resentment and mistrust," stated Rep. Marin.
According to attendees of the forum and a report authored by the ACLU and the Rights Working Group, "there are serious allegations of racial profiling . . ., especially in the context of traffic stops." With Latinos and immigrants being consistently targeted, Rep. Marin hopes President Obama will soon begin steps to reform federal immigration law. "If we continue to rely on state and local governments to establish policy specific to immigrants, the challenges we now face will continue to escalate and worsen. Immigrants are not our enemies and should not be treated as such. Federal immigration reform must become a priority for the Administration," offered Rep. Marin.
Currently, there are two bills in the Georgia General Assembly which target racial profiling, HB 110 sponsored by Rep. Marin and HB 53 sponsored by Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) of Atlanta. The bills would prohibit law enforcement officers from impermissibly using race or ethnicity in determining whether or not to stop a motorist.
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