U.S. House Condones Racial Profiling of Latinos and Other Minorities

May 9, 2012 12:00 am

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Amendment Blocks DOJ’s Ability to Challenge State Anti-Immigrant Laws

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WASHINGTON — Late last night, the House of Representatives pushed through an amendment that would cut off the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ability to bring new challenges or join existing challenges to nine specific state racial profiling, anti-immigrant laws.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), was offered on the FY2013 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, and would prohibit the DOJ from originating or joining any legal challenge to laws passed by Arizona, Alabama, Utah and South Carolina, where DOJ already has pending litigation, as well as certain laws in Georgia and Indiana, where the ACLU has sued, and in Missouri and Oklahoma, where two omnibus anti-immigrant laws have been in effect for several years.

“The House has made it clear it condones racial profiling by stripping the DOJ of its prospective ability to challenge these discriminatory laws that target Latinos and other minorities,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “It’s bad enough that state lawmakers want to target certain minority groups for harassment, but now our federally elected representatives want to slam the door shut on the Justice Department’s ability to protect our Constitutional rights. This is an all-out attack on the innocent victims of these state profiling laws, including children and U.S. citizens.”

Murphy warned that Black’s funding limitation would establish a dangerous precedent by opening the door to congressional restraints on federal litigation by future administrations on any issue.

The final vote was 238 yeas; 173 nays, with 226 Republicans in favor of the amendment, and 167 Democrats against. The amendment passed at 12:14 a.m.

The Senate has not yet marked up its FY2013 CJS Appropriations bill.

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