The immigration bill senators introduced Wednesday bans racial profiling by federal law enforcement officers in most routine encounters, such as traffic stops.
Under current federal law and court precedents, racial discrimination is illegal—but there is no specific ban on racial profiling by federal officers.
But buried inside the 844-page Senate immigration bill is a section specifically prohibiting the use of race or ethnicity as a factor in “routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions, such as ordinary traffic stops.”
Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents Border Patrol line agents, said the new language restricting racial profiling won’t hurt agents’ ability to do their jobs. He said they are already are prohibited from profiling based on race or ethnicity.
The crux of the deal struck by the four Democrats and four Republicans is a grant of legal status and work rights for most current illegal immigrants, in exchange for a promise that the Homeland Security Department will boost border security and achieve a measurable level of success.
If the border security triggers are met, then those newly legal immigrants will eventually be given a pathway to citizenship.