Federal agents in the United States are soon to be faced with stiffer requirements when it comes to using racial profiling in their investigations, including immigration cases. It was recently announced by the Justice Department that the definition of racial profiling is to be expanded to include gender, national origin, religion and sexual orientation.
The new policy is certain to have an immediate impact especially on immigration enforcement, with the move having been made in response to the ongoing criticism from US civil rights groups, particularly in regards to the singling out of Latinos when it comes to immigration cases. There will also now likely be less scrutiny of Muslims in national security investigations as a consequence of the new policy.
The move to put an end to racial profiling started while George W Bush was in the White House, although his administration only changed policies that applied to race rather than ancestry or religion and much of that intended reform ended up being put on the back burner following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Racial profiling has been criticized in the past by the likes of US Attorney General Eric Holder and the new approach, which was outlined with Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, in a meeting that reflects that.
“Racial profiling is wrong,” Holder said, four years ago back in 2010. “It can leave a lasting scar on communities and individuals. And it is, quite simply, bad policing – whatever city, whatever state.” The new policy is expected to prevent immigrants being targeted by police solely because of their national origin.