The Obama administration will continue to allow the Department of Homeland Security to conduct racial profiling at airports and borders, a decision that comes amid high-profile cases of excessive use of police force against minorities.
The White House will permit a large section of the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Transportation Security Administration and the US Customs and Border Protection, to continue with the controversial practice of racial profiling while selecting who should receive special consideration at border checkpoints and at airports, law enforcement officials told The Washington Post.
At the same time, the new guidelines prohibit federal agencies from basing their investigations on the religious beliefs, national origin or sexual orientation of individuals, tightening up a 2003 Bush administration measure that only mentioned a ban on racial profiling.
In addition to racial profiling at the nation’s borders, the administration will continue to allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to perform “mapping,” which allows the agency to collect a wide range of demographic information on entire neighborhoods.
Despite criticism of the new measures, outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder defended the policy, saying it would enhance police work.
“This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing,” Holder said last week.
DHS press secretary Marsha Catron said in a statement Friday that the government agency “continues to work with its federal law enforcement partners to develop guidance that protects the nation and civil rights.” The Justice Department, meanwhile, declined to comment.