The Obama administration will release new rules on racial profiling by federal law enforcement officers as early as Monday or Tuesday, government officials reportedly said Friday. But officers and agents at the Department of Homeland Security will still be able to use the controversial practice in order to screen airline passengers and guard the United States-Mexico border, the Washington Post reported.
On Monday or Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce revisions to the Justice Department’s rules that would ban racial profiling and consider factors like religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and national origin for the first time. Federal officers would be banned from considering those factors during criminal investigations or during standard immigration cases away from the border, the New York Times reported.
In 2001, then-President George Bush said he would end racial profiling by law enforcement, and in 2009, Holder launched an internal review on the matter. Earlier this week Holder announced his plan to unveil the rules, but he didn't say when he would do so, Reuters reported.
Under the new rules, FBI agents would still be able to map neighborhoods to find informants for cases based on race or other factors. The rules have been delayed by debate within the administration over whether racial profiling in border control is necessary for agents to find illegal immigrants, the Times reported.
The changes would come as thousands throughout the U.S. protest recent grand jury decisions in New York and Missouri not to indict white police officers for causing the deaths of unarmed black men Eric Garner, 42, and Mike Brown, 18. Last month in Cleveland, a 12-year-old black boy, Tamir Rice, died after he was shot by a white police officer; the boy had been wielding a toy gun. Protesters allege that the police officers involved in these incidents had used excessive force and had treated the men and youth differently because of their race. President Barack Obama and Holder have asked the public to remain calm.