U.S. to Continue Racial, Ethnic Profiling in Border Policy
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will soon issue new rules curtailing the use of profiling, but federal agents will still be allowed to consider race and ethnicity when stopping people at airports, border crossings and immigration checkpoints, according to several government officials.
The new policy has been in the works for years and will replace decade-old rules that banned racial profiling for federal law enforcement, but with specific exemptions for national security and border investigations. Immigration enforcement has proved to be the most controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s revisions, and law enforcement officials succeeded in arguing that they should have more leeway in deciding whom to stop and question.
The administration is set to release the new rules in the midst of nationwide protests over recent decisions in New York and Ferguson, Mo., not to prosecute white police officers for the deaths of unarmed black men. President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. have called for calm between law enforcement and minorities.
The new rules expand the definition of racial profiling to include religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Under the rules, law enforcement officials cannot consider any of those factors, along with race, during criminal investigations, or during routine immigration cases away from the border. Agencies whose officers make traffic stops, such as the United States Park Police, may not use them as a reason to pull someone over. The rules will apply to local police assigned to federal task forces, but not local police agencies.