'Distressing': New Racial Profiling Rules Won't Apply to Airports, Borders

Soon to be released federal guidelines on racial profiling will allow Department of Homeland Security officials to continue engaging in the pratice at airports and border checks, news agencies are reporting.

The new policy will revise guidance issued by 2003 by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder said the new guidance “will institute rigorous new standards—and robust safeguards—to help end racial profiling, once and for all,” but the new reporting indicates that the practice will not be fully stopped.

The New York Times reports:

But it exempts Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at airport screenings and parts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection—exemptions, the Washington Post reports, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pushed for:

ACLU issued a statement in response, saying that though the revised guidance eliminates some existing loopholes, the “TSA and CBP exemptions are distressing.”

“We are pleased that the national security loophole, the source of many egregious constitutional violations is narrowed. But it’s difficult to celebrate knowing federal authorities will still be advised and permitted to target individuals at airports and in the vast 100-mile border zone not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because of their skin color or First Amendment-protected beliefs,” stated ACLU Washington Legislative Office Director Laura W. Murphy.

“Let’s be clear: DHS wants to racially profile at the border because, as an anonymous immigration enforcement official said today, ‘There’s a very specific clientele that we look for.’ That’s code for Latinos and other people of color who look to DHS police like they don’t ‘belong.’ Focusing on an entire class of people instead of on actual conduct is unfair and harms our national security by wasting scarce government resources and eroding minority communities’ trust in government. The White House must insist that these DHS components do not engage in unconstitutional behavior,” she continued.

The news of the forthcoming rules comes the same day as a group of United Nations human rights experts said the recent grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner underscored “legitimate concerns” regarding the fairness of the justice system.

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“There are numerous complaints stating that African-Americans are disproportionally affected by such practices of racial profiling and the use of disproportionate and often lethal force,” stated UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Mutuma Ruteere.

“African-Americans are 10 times more likely to be pulled over by police officers for minor traffic offenses than white persons. Such practices must be eradicated,” Ruteere stated.

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