Criminal Defense Blog

US Gov’t expands ban on profiling by federal agents

In 2003 the United States Department of Justice under President Bush issued guidelines prohibiting racial profiling. As President Bush stated, “It’s wrong, and we will end it in America.” This was a step in the right direction.

There were several loopholes, however. First, it did not apply to national security investigations. Second, it applied to race, but not to religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex or sexual orientation. Muslim civil rights groups complained that eliminating race as a criterion for federal government crackdowns but not eliminating ethnicity or national origin left a huge loophole through which federal agents could jump through to target Muslims and Americans of Arab ethnic origin.

The New York Times reported today that the federal government will be expanding its profiling ban. The Department of Justice will be expanding its category of prohibited stereotypes to include ethnicity, country of origin, religion, sex and sexual orientation, as well as race. But the fact remains that the prohibition against using such stereotypes will still not apply to federal investigations conducted in the name of national security.

The opinions and information in this blog are not intended to be legal advice, and are not a substitute for obtaining advice from a qualified attorney about your particular matter.