As the US government readies the new set of guidelines for racial profiling by the federal law enforcement, the government officials on Friday said that many government agents and officers at the Department of Homeland Security will continue to enjoy the rights to use the controversial practice, including while screening at the airport and along the southwestern US border.
According to the reports, the new guidelines will put a ban on racial profiling from national security cases and also bar the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) from considering factors like religion and national origin while opening a case against any individual.
Under the new rules, the definition of racial profiling expands with the inclusion of national origin, religion, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. Most federal agents can’t consider race and any of those factors while conducting criminal investigations or probing routine immigration cases away from the border.
The set of guidelines has ignited sharp debate within the Obama’s administration, raising concerns over which federal agencies would be covered under the proposed rules.
While, the FBI is concerned over the hampering on investigations, Department of Homeland Security believes that the new guidelines may affect the security system as many factors are needed to be considered by the airport screeners and customs and immigration officials for the sake of security.
According to the sources, the new policy will exempt the Transportation Security Administration, which handles airport screening, and the Customs and Border Protection agency to carry racial profiling during inspections at airports and along the border.
This week, US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the new set of rules on racial profiling would be released soon by the government.
Meanwhile, the civil rights activists continue to show their opposition against the practice. The racial tensions, especially between the African-American communities and the police department, has been ignited countrywide after the grand juries pronounced their verdict in two separate cases in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. In both the cases, the juries declined to indict white police officers who had killed two unarmed black men.
The guidelines by the Justice Department will apply only to the federal law enforcement agencies and not state or local authorities.