On Monday, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued revised guidelines prohibiting federal law enforcement agencies from profiling on the basis of religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The DOJ released a revised version on Monday of its “Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.” The initial guidelines prohibited profiling solely on the base of race and ethnicity.
“Profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective, because it wastes precious resources and undermines the public trust,” said Attorney General Eric Holder about the revised guidelines, according to NBC News.
“Particularly in light of certain recent incidents we’ve seen at the local level – and the widespread concerns about trust in the criminal justice process which so many have raised throughout the nation – it’s imperative that we take every possible action to institute strong and sound policing practices.”
A formal statement is expected from the Justice Department later today. A DOJ official told ABC News exactly what would be entailed in the revised policy:
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- Expand the characteristics it protects to include prohibitions on profiling on the basis of gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, in addition to race and ethnicity
- Apply not only to federal law enforcement officers, but also state and local law enforcement officers while participating in federal law enforcement task forces
- Eliminate the broad carve-outs for law enforcement activities related to protecting national security or the integrity of the borders
- Maintain the stringent 2003 standard governing routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions
- Require that in making routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions like traffic stops, federal law enforcement officers may not use race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity to any degree, except that officers may rely on a listed characteristic in a specific subject description
NBC News notes that the new policy will apply to several components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the United States Coast Guard, but not to airport screening, anyone crossing the border, or the United States Secret Service.