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DOJ To Issue New Federal Rules On Profiling

A TSA agent checks a bag at a security checkpoint area at Midway International Airport last month. The new federal government guidelines on racial and religious profiling won't apply to the TSA.
Nam Y. Huh
A TSA agent checks a bag at a security checkpoint area at Midway International Airport.

The Justice Department is preparing to release new guidelines for some federal agents that would prohibit them from using such factors as religion or sexual orientation to profile individuals, but the new policy would not apply at airports or border crossings.

NPR's Carrie Johnson says the DOJ has been considering the change, expected out any day, for the past five years.

"They will add some new categories that are prohibited, like sexual orientation and religion," Carrie tells Weekend All Things Considered.

"These guidelines will be applied at the FBI and at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the DEA and the like," she says, but adds: "Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups tell me the guidelines still don't go far enough.

"They won't apply, for instance, at airports, to TSA agents or agents on the border," Carrie says. "There are still some big loopholes, too, that allow the FBI to map Muslim-American communities in the U.S., and most importantly, they won't generally cover state and local police who are at the heart of these incidents in Ferguson, New York and Cleveland."

The New York Times reports:

"Under the rules, law enforcement officials cannot consider any of those factors, along with race, during criminal investigations, or during routine immigration cases away from the border. Agencies whose officers make traffic stops, such as the United States Park Police, may not use them as a reason to pull someone over. The rules will apply to local police assigned to federal task forces, but not local police agencies.

"The rules also eliminate the broad exemption for taking into account those factors in cases involving national security, but F.B.I. agents will still be allowed to map neighborhoods and use that data to recruit informants from specific ethnic groups."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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