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Expanded federal ban on profiling doesn't apply at borders, airport screening

Profiling ban doesn't apply at borders
Profiling ban doesn't apply at borders

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Story highlights

  • Screenings at ports of entry, including airports, are exempt from the profiling policy
  • Holder plans to brief state and local law enforcement officials
  • He will urge them to adopt the federal policy in a speech

(CNN)New federal law enforcement guidelines set to be issued Monday will expand protection from profiling, but won't apply to screenings at borders and airports, or in intelligence operations.

The new guidelines replace ones in place since 2003, which prohibit profiling based on race and ethnicity, but also include broad exemptions for national security investigations.
    The Justice Department will issue the new guidelines that will prohibit profiling based on religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, a Justice official said.
    The expanded ban on profiling comes amid widespread street protests around the nation in the wake of controversial killings of black men by white police officers. The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, set off wider discussions about police tactics and complaints by black men that they bear the brunt of suspicion and profiling by police.
    Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 ordered a review of the profiling ban and pushed for an expansion. He ran into opposition along the way, including from the FBI, whose agents feared it would make their work more difficult, and more recently from the Homeland Security Department, which sought more flexibility for its agencies before agreeing to join the new policy.
    The new profiling guidelines apply to state and local law enforcement agencies when they are part of federal law enforcement operations.
    Holder plans to brief state and local law enforcement officials on a conference call Monday and plans to urge them to adopt the federal policy in a speech in Memphis on Tuesday, according to a Justice official.
    "Profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective -- because it wastes precious resources and undermines the public trust. Particularly in light of certain recent incidents we've seen at the local level -- and the widespread concerns about trust in the criminal justice process which so many have raised throughout the nation -- it's imperative that we take every possible action to institute strong and sound policing practices.," Holder said in a statement provided by the Justice Department in anticipation of Monday's announcement.
    DHS agencies, including federal air marshals, Homeland Security investigations, and the Coast Guard will be covered by the new policy. But screenings at ports of entry, including airports, are exempted from the profiling policy. The same applies to intelligence operations, which include federal agents' work to recruit informants.
    Despite the new broader ban on profiling, some critics aren't satisfied that it goes far enough.
    Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy at the Sikh Coalition, said in a statement that "the message this continues to send is that certain communities are still suspect, and we worry this will lead to more hate crime and discrimination."
    Laura W. Murphy, legislative office director for the ACLU in Washington, said in a statement that the new guidance is "not an adequate response to the crisis of racial profiling in America," arguing that the new guidelines are "so loosely drafted" and contain flexibility that can affect American Muslims.
    The group Muslim Advocates also argued the new rules don't go far enough in protecting American Muslims from profiling by the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and other law enforcement agencies.
    "We urge the administration to finish the job by addressing these outstanding, gaping problems with the Guidance," the group said in a statement.