A truckload of young Hispanic men is spotted by a U.S. Border Patrol agent rumbling down a dusty road a mile north of the Mexican border toward El Paso, Texas.
How should the agent respond?
Under the immigration-reform bill currently under consideration by Congress, Border Patrol agents or any other law-enforcement officer who stops such a vehicle to demand identification might be found in violation of the law.
The legislation bars all federal law-enforcement officers, including border agents, from using race or ethnicity “to any degree” while making routine or spontaneous law-enforcement decisions, a WND review of the legislation has found.
The bill further calls for the Homeland Security Department to collect data on immigration enforcement activities to determine the existence of racial profiling.
The data would be utilized to issue future guidelines to officers regarding the use of race or ethnicity during routine enforcement.
The bill states that “in making routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions, such as ordinary traffic stops, Federal law enforcement officers may not use race or ethnicity to any degree, except that officers may rely on race and ethnicity if a specific suspect description exists.”
The bill defines federal law-enforcement officers as any “officer, agent, or employee of the United States authorized by law or by a Government agency to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of Federal law.”
The definition includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
It is clear that immigration enforcement officials are singled out by the new directives.
The legislation refers specifically to border-security agents with another clause that states “in enforcing laws protecting the integrity of the Nation’s borders, Federal law enforcement officers may not consider race or ethnicity except to the extent permitted by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
If the legislation is enacted, the bill calls for the DHS secretary to begin within 180 days the collection of data regarding the “individualized immigration enforcement activities of covered Department officers.”
The data is to be utilized immediately to possibly issue new guidelines.
The act states that within 180 days of the data collection, the DHS secretary “shall complete a study analyzing the data.”
Ninety days after the study is complete, the bill dictates the secretary, in consultation with the attorney general, “shall issue regulations regarding the use of race, ethnicity, and any other suspect classifications the Secretary deems appropriate by covered Department officers.”
The bill allows for some exceptions to the racial profiling restriction.
It states federal law-enforcement officers may consider race and ethnicity “only to the extent that there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality or time frame that links persons of a particular race or ethnicity to an identified criminal incident, scheme, or organization.”