Rules against racial profiling in US won't apply at airports, borders

The new rules against racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, to be imposed in the US, will not apply to the functioning of immigration agents at airports or borders, media reported Saturday.

IANS| Last Updated: Dec 07, 2014, 04:54 AM IST

Washington: The new rules against racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, to be imposed in the US, will not apply to the functioning of immigration agents at airports or borders, media reported Saturday.

Accordingly, the agents of the department of homeland security who guard the US border with Mexico and keep watch on passengers arriving at the nation`s airports may continue to detain individuals based on their race or ethnicity, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported, citing top officials.

US Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce next week the new racial profiling regulations, at a time of nationwide protests against the decisions of two grand juries not to indict white police officers for killing black men in New York and Ferguson.

The new regulations ban racial profiling for the first time in cases of national security and bar security agents from considering such factors as race, country of origin or religion of an individual when opening a case, according to officials cited by the two newspapers.

However, the department of homeland security argued that it would be impractical to ignore those factors when checking arrivals at the border or at airports.

"The immigration investigators have said that they can`t do their job without taking ethnicity into account as they are very dependent on that. They want to have the least number of restrictions holding them back," a US official was quoted by The New York Times as saying, on the condition of anonymity.

Exceptions to the use of rules against racial profiling will apply to a part of the department of homeland security, including the transportation security administration and parts of the US customs and border protection, according to The Washington Post.

Secretary of the department of homeland security, Jeh Johnson had said that though his department was not in favour of profiling, border and airport officials need to do all they could to keep the nation safe.

In 2003, the then US President George W. Bush banned racial profiling, but the prohibition did not apply to national security investigations and only considered the race factor.

The new rules will be obligatory for agencies of the justice department, as well as serving as guidelines for local police departments.

According to The Washington Post, the rules will not apply to a practice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), known as "mapping," which consists of designating a neighbourhood as subject to possible investigations, based on demographic data of the ethnic groups living there.