End Racial Profiling in Immigration Enforcement
Reece Jones of the Texas Observer has a helpful article urging the Biden Administration to end racial profiling in immigration enforcement. Racial profiling is a serious problem in many aspects of law enforcement, state, local, and federal. But, as Jones explains, this virtually the only one where such discrimination is actually endorsed by policy, so long as the profiling occurs in a “border” area:
Despite a broad public consensus that law enforcement officers should not use racial profiling, efforts in Congress to ban the practice have failed for decades. The situation is even worse in the border zone, where racial profiling is explicitly allowed for the Border Patrol and other federal immigration police based on Supreme Court decisions and the Obama administration’s 2014 guidelines on race and policing, which are still in effect. The Biden administration should revise those guidelines to ban racial profiling for all federal police, including the Border Patrol, and should state explicitly that racial profiling is a violation of the Civil Rights Act [of 1964]….
In 2014, former Attorney General Eric Holder directed the Department of Justice to review federal guidelines for the use of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity in policing. The review resulted in new guidance that banned racial profiling for most federal officers, but it does not apply to the Border Patrol. Buried in a footnote, it said “this guidance does not apply to interdiction activities in the vicinity of the border, or to protective, inspection, or screening activities.” At the time, a DHS official told the New York Times, “We can’t do our job without taking ethnicity into account. We are very dependent on that.”
The Trump and Biden administrations kept these guidelines on racial profiling in place.
The “border area” exception to rules against racial profiling is so broad that it effectively swallows the rule. As Reece notes, “the official border zone is defined as within 100 miles of borders and coastlines—a vast area that includes the homes of almost two-thirds of the United States population and many of the largest cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.”
You may not think that you live in a border area, but – as far as the Department of Homeland Security is concerned – you probably do. And if you belong to the same racial or ethnic group as suspected undocumented immigrants (or just look like you do), you are subject to racial profiling by law enforcement agencies seeking to catch and deport them.
The practical consequences of such profiling can be dire. Because of weak due process protections in the immigration detention and deportation system, the federal government routinely detains and deports large numbers of US citizens, before discovering its mistake. For obvious reasons, racial profiling increases the incidence of such errors. Victims of racial profiling are also sometimes physically abused by law enforcement. Even when (as in the vast majority of cases) racial profiling incidents end without anyone being detained or hurt, they still infli
Article from Reason.com