Congressional Hispanic Caucus Calls for Reforms to Address Police Violence Affecting Latino Communities

Jul 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) sent a letter to congressional police reform negotiators Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Congressmember Karen Bass (CA-37) to share proposed policing reforms that would be particularly impactful to Latino communities.

“The reforms included in the House-passed version of the Justice in Policing Act, such as ending or limiting qualified immunity and banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, have tremendous potential to keep our communities safer from police violence,” the Members wrote. “As negotiations on a final bill continue, we want to highlight ways in which some of the proposed reforms would be particularly impactful for Latino communities:

  • De-militarization of local law enforcement: We urge you to consider measures to demilitarize law enforcement against immigrant communities, like limiting the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program. The vilification of immigrant communities has led to increased surveillance operations and arrests by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, often in collaboration with local police. Raids and mass arrests targeting predominately immigrant communities, which often occur in schools or the workplace, erode trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Furthermore, the use of military grade weapons and vehicles acquired through the 1033 program in raids and arrests escalate tense situations and increase the risk of violence.

 

  • Demographic Reporting: We strongly support the establishment of a national reporting standard for police use of force. As this topic is addressed, it is crucial to consider the difficulties that federal agencies have historically faced when collecting demographic data on Latino communities. To separate race and ethnicity is a difficult question for many Latino individuals; it also results in undercounts and erasure of Latino representation in data collection on safety net programs, COVID-19 cases, and the Census. Even with a national reporting standard, these challenges must be addressed to gain an accurate understanding of police violence in Latino communities.”

The letter was led by CHC Racial Justice Taskforce Chair Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García and signed by the following Members of Congress: Raul Ruiz M.D., Nanette Diaz Barragán, Tony Cárdenas, Joaquin Castro, Veronica Escobar, Adriano Espaillat, Ruben Gallego, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jimmy Gomez, Raúl Grijalva, Nydia M. Velázquez, and Juan Vargas.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.