Feds Set to Ban Profiling by Religion, Nationality

But national security loophole may stay open

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 16, 2014 3:50 AM CST | Updated Jan 16, 2014 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – The Justice Department is poised to ban federal agents from profiling suspects by religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation as well as race, reports the New York Times. Sources say Attorney General Eric Holder, who has condemned profiling in the past, revealed plans to expand the ban on racial profiling during a meeting yesterday with new New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, though there is no word on when the change will actually take effect.

George W. Bush denounced profiling and vowed to "end it in America" in 2001, months before the 9/11 attacks resulted in extensive profiling of Arab and Muslim men. Profiling by race was banned in 2003, but the ban didn't apply to national security cases and it's not clear whether the exception will continue. "Adding religion and national origin is huge," says a spokeswoman for the National Network for Arab American Communities. "But if they don’t close the national security loophole, then it’s really irrelevant."

Attorney General Eric Holder has been under pressure from Democrats to end profiling by nationality and religion.
Attorney General Eric Holder has been under pressure from Democrats to end profiling by nationality and religion.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Putting an end to this practice not only comports with the Constitution, it would put real teeth to the FBI's claims that it wants better relationships with religious minorities. - ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi

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