Racial & Immigrant Justice Program

The Racial & Immigrant Justice program wages campaigns at the local and national level to gain just immigration reforms and to end racial profiling through policy change.  Our members and leaders who are directly affected by detention, deportation, racial profiling, surveillance, and immigration enforcement lead the campaigns.  Based on the experiences of the past 14 years, DRUM highlights the fact that the harshest impact of these policies are on low-income members of our communities whose families are torn apart, are pushed into poverty, deported, or detained.

South Asians make up one of the largest undocumented populations in New York City. Large numbers are also highly targeted by policies that racially and religiously profile them as immigrants, Muslims, low-wage workers, and youth. All of these factors push community members to live in a state of fear, and become further marginalized, criminalized, and easily exploitable.



Since 9/11/01, DRUM and many civil rights organizations have documented thousands of incidents, policies, and programs of law enforcement agencies that racially and religiously profiling South Asian, Arab, and Muslim community members.  Law enforcement officials from the FBI, the New York Police Department, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must have independent oversight and accountability to prevent unchecked and widespread profiling and surveillance of our communities, and to ensure civil rights, due process, and transparency.

In NYC, both the NYPD and FBI have engaged in unchecked and widespread profiling and surveillance of our communities.  Much of the rationale for the profiling has been codified into official documents, such as the NYPD report published in 2006, entitled “Radicalization in the West- The Homegrown Threat”.

DRUM works locally and nationally to implement policies for FBI, NYPD, and DHS accountability and an end to racial profiling practices and policies.


Community Safety Act

Through DRUM’s unique position as an organization with directly impacted members, as well as a history, in issues of surveillance as well as discriminatory policing, DRUM facilitated a partnership between groups MACLC and CPR to work together on the Community Safety Act. In the fall of 2013, We were successful in passing the Community Safety Act, and are now working on implementation. Through highlighting the voices and experiences of community members who have been targeted by the NYPD, DRUM is working to get the newly appointed Inspector General to oversee, investigate and document NYPD policies and practices, and their compliance with civil rights, in regards to their surveillance programs.
Partners: Communities united for Police Reform (CPR), Brennan Center, and Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC)

End Racial Profiling Survey Project

Over the last 3 years, DRUM leaders, members, and volunteers have spanning the city to survey over 400 community residents on their experiences with law enforcement to document statistics and stories. We are now working on publishing a report with findings and recommendations for policy makers in Fall of 2014.
Partner: DataCenter

This survey project builds upon another report, In Our Own Voices: Narratives of South Asian New Yorkers Affected by Racial and Religious Profiling, that DRUM participated in documenting the experiences of NYC South Asians with law enforcement agencies. (Partners: SAALT, United Sikhs, SAYA, Sikh Coalition, Coney Island Avenue Project, COPO)


Reform Department of Justice Guidance on Racial Profiling

The DoJ Guidance on Racial profiling has large gaps for matters of national security and border enforcement that need to be removed, and needs to be extended to apply to local law enforcement agencies to make the Guidance more inclusive and effective.
Partner: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ACLU, SAALT, National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), Rights Working Group

National Campaign to Roll Back Surveillance and Informant Use

DRUM has spearheaded the formation of a national campaign to restrict the use of informants and agent provocateurs in communities, mosques, Muslim businesses, organizations, and other neighborhood sites, which operates on racial and religious presumptions of criminal activity that are biased.  The campaign is modeled on DRUM’s model of organizing, and is working to build leadership of directly affected communities to work along legal, policy, and advocacy allies to create national policy change on the use of informants.
Partners: Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), Rights Working Group, Center for National Security Studies, Muslim Advocates, City of University of New York School of Law Clinic – Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CUNY CLEAR)


Communities United for Police Reform (CPR)
— Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC)
— Rights Working Group
— Security and Rights Collaborative
— National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms




There are over 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US who have no legal path to citizenship.  Undocumented migrants work in the lowest paid, most exploitative jobs, and face xenophobic backlash, little rights, and constant threat of deportation.

Since the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, and along with the policies of recent administrations, over 4 million immigrants have been deported.  Over 35,000 immigrants languish in detention centers each day for civil immigration violations.  With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, immigration policy is increasingly framed under national security and harsh enforcement rather than human rights. Since August 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has increased immigration raids in workplaces and homes by 500%, with a continued escalation during the Obama Administration. Increasing enforcement-only programs such as 287g, Secure Communities, SB1070 in Arizona (and similar bills in other states), and raids tear apart families, put children in danger, and spread fear across communities.

National immigration reform must be humane and not include harsh enforcement that undermines legalization or human rights.


Locally, DRUM members are working for the implementation of the Municipal ID that was passed for all New York City residents. In particular, DRUM members are working on ensuring that the sensitive and private information of residents is not shared with law enforcement agencies.

Additionally, DRUM members continue to organize for non-compliance with the REAL ID Act by New York State, the guarantee of equal access to driver’s licenses for all, the ending of the Secure Communities program in New York State, and the equal protection of labor rights of undocumented workers.
Partners: New York Immigration Coalition, Immigrant Communities in Action


Just National Immigration Reform Campaign – Administrative Relief

Through lobbying and visits with federal and local legislators, directly affected DRUM members have campaigned for a just national immigration reform that creates an inclusive path for legalization, improves family reunification processes for all, and prevents a guest worker program that has no path to legal status.  The efforts also seek enforcement of protections of the human and civil rights of immigrants by reducing detentions and deportations, ending collaboration between the DHS and public agencies, and ending deaths and abuses of migrants at the borders.

Due to lack of any congressional proposals that meet those demands, DRUM members voted in early 2014 to push for Administrative Relief and have been organizing to pressure the Obama Administration to end all deportations.
Partners: United We Dream, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Immigrant Communities in Action

End Immigration Enforcement Programs

DRUM members, who are directly impacted by raids and deportation, mobilize to prevent local police and government agencies from enforcing unjust immigration laws. We document human rights violations of immigrants in NNIRR’s HURRICANE database and reports.  We also document and report violations of NYC Executive Order 41 and seek better monitoring and accountability. Our members lobby and educate Congress on the devastating effects of the 1996 IIRIRA laws, the need for repeal, and a Moratorium on 287g and Secure Communities.  Our members also disperse thousands of “Stop the Raids” posters with DRUM serving as a HOTLINE for victims of 287g, Secure Communities, and raids.  To order a poster, call (718) 205-3036.
Partners: National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Immigrant Communities in Action


 National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Board Member, National Council Member
 United We Dream
 Rights Working Group