Thursday, September 8, 2011

Video: Checkpoint Nation? highlights racial profiling by law since 9-11

Checkpoint Nation? Building Community across Borders, a documentary video depicting the reality of racial profiling, launched today in New York. The release was timed to the 10th anniversary of September 11th and connects contemporary profiling of people of color in the U.S. with the attack of 9/11.

Several federal initiatives — such as 287(g) and Secure Communities, which give local and state police the authority to enforce federal immigration law — have intensified racial profiling of migrants and people assumed to be migrants. States are threatening and passing laws similar to Arizona’s SB1070, a law that would require Arizona residents to carry ID documents to prove their immigration status. These laws lead to increased discrimination and are increasingly enacted in states around the country.

In Checkpoint Nation?, a woman named Maria describes being stopped and harassed by Arizona police for no discernable reason while she was nine months pregnant. Immigration agents subsequently trail her into one of the most intimate moments of her life. The film is set in the U.S./Mexico border area, which sees more and more migrant deaths every year. Yet it also demonstrates how diverse groups of allies — including Muslim, Arab-, South Asian-, African-, and Latino-Americans, as well as civil rights lawyers and media activists across the nation— have found common ground in the battle against these offenses. They share their histories with one another and unite around the shared goals of justice, equality, and respect.

This preview of the documentary, featuring Maria's story, is well worth your time:

Innovative global human rights organization Breakthrough and Rights Working Group (RWG), a coalition focused on ending racial profiling and fighting other human rights violations in the U.S., announced their release of the video today. This post is based on information released by the group.

“This video captures in moving and vivid terms how some members of law enforcement abuse their power to profile and discriminate against migrants near the Arizona border,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Rights Working Group. She continued:

“It also shows clearly that racial profiling happens in immigration enforcement, in the War on Drugs and in post-9/11 surveillance and national security policies. People from so many diverse affected communities need to connect around the issue of fairness and work together to combat injustice.”

"...when anyone's human rights are violated, it impacts everyone." ~Addy Bereiss, ACLU Arizona

Checkpoint Nation? will complement a Week of Action around the 10th anniversary of September 11th. The effort is spearheaded by RWG, a national coalition of more than 300 civil liberties, national security, immigrant rights and human rights organizations committed to restoring due process and human rights protections that have been eroded in the name of national security. The report, “Reclaiming Our Rights: Reflections on Racial Profiling in a Post-9/11 America,” will be released on September 14th.

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