Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling national problem despite claims that the United States has entered a "post-racial era." It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. Racial profiling is patently illegal, violating the Constitution's core promises of equal protection under the law to all and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Just as importantly, racial profiling is ineffective. It alienates communities from law enforcement, hinders community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve. (ACLU)

We had long been aware of the discrimination experienced in this country against Latinos whether documented or undocumented. We have worked to inform about these injustices through programs, speakers, dinners, etc. We have worked since before our involvement with sanctuary in Saint Louis to highlight the various stories of migrants in the United States as well as the Saint Louis area.

After the quadrennial assembly of the United Methodist Women in 2010, we identified in Saint Ann, MO and surrounding communities, that members of the Latino community were being frequently followed home from church services, schools or stores and often stopped. These people were targetted because they were identifiable as latinos. IFCLA and MIRA began a program to "Know Your Rights" within the Latino community.

This program provided printed information, and meetings between the community and city officials, as well as volunteers attending local court hearings since there were almost no details in available court records. In addition to police issues, instances of illegal denials of residency permits were identified. We worked with the Equal Housing Opportunity Committee to challenge local ordinances which are counter to federal law. Some specific cases were taken care of but, unfortunately, the local ordinances have not been changed. In 2012 Aaron Jimenez was elected Chief of Police and he began a series of improvements and trainings within the police department. These included more openness and transparency within the police department.

The profiling is still prelevant in the Saint Louis area. Racial profiling affects a wide array of communities of color. More than 240 years of slavery and 90 years of legalized racial segregation have led to systemic profiling of Blacks in traffic and pedestrian stops. Since September 11, 2001, members of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities have been profiled by airline personnel, federal law enforcement, and local police.

The federal government's encouragement of unprecedented raids of immigrant communities and work places by local law enforcement in cooperation with federal agencies has targeted Latino communities in particular. These policies have unjustly expanded the purview of and undermined basic trust in local law enforcement, alienated immigrant communities, and created an atmosphere of fear anti-immigrant rhetoric has led to a dramatic increase in hate crimes against and racial profiling of Latinos.

The shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO., was a grim reminder that there are two kinds of policing in America today: one to serve and protect the white community and one to criminalize and control the black community. To serve and protect is not a suggestion. It is a mandate that law enforcement must apply equally to all communities. Otherwise, there will only be more Fergusons.

IFCLA has worked with many organizations, individuals, and peace and justice groups within Saint Louis to urge local, state, and national legislators and law enforcement officials to take a number of actions and institute reforms.

Unfortunately there are new stories/instances occurring - the issue is not going away. IFCLA believes that if it is done to one, it is done to all of us. If you want more information on what we are doing, please call the office.
Accompanying the people of Latin America in their struggles for human rights and social justice since 1982
438 North Skinker Boulevard
Saint Louis, Missouri
(314) 721-2977
Immigration - Intervention - Investment - Immersion
ifcla016004.jpg ifcla026002.jpg ifcla001020.jpg
Our mission: To accompany the people of Latin America in their struggles for human rights and
social justice, and to educate and advocate in the US