Although Senator Ben Cardin introduced this bill a couple of months ago, I see it’s getting more attention now as the US Justice Department with Asst. Attorney General (and Marylander) Thomas Perez keeps busy going after states that have passed strict laws to curtail illegal immigration.
Here, The Washington Examiner, tells us about Cardin’s (and Harry Reid’s) bill. I suspect that Cardin is carrying Perez’s water on this …..
Democrats in Congress have proposed a new racial profiling ban that could thwart state and local laws on immigration enforcement, such as the controversial Arizona law currently tied up in federal court, by witholding federal funding for state and local law enforcement agencies engaged in “racial profiling” and empowering the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file lawsuits against state and local governments.
Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and lead sponsor Ben Cardin, D-Md., are pushing the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011, which would, among other things, “withhold federal law enforcement funding if local and state governments failed to adopt effective policies that prohibit racial profiling” and “require the Attorney General to report on ongoing discriminatory profiling practices.” Those reports could provide the basis for federal lawsuits against the state or local entities, filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or by individuals who believe they have been racially profiled.
Reid co-sponsored a similar version of the bill in 2004. According to Cardin’s office, the newer bill has been updated specifically to reflect concerns about unfair immigration enforcement practices.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which promotes more illegal immigration enforcement and lower levels of legal immigration, warned that the bill, if implemented, could interdict state and local efforts to enforce illegal immigration laws. “This could be used as a club to beat [states with illegal immigration laws] into submission,” said FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman, although he noted that the language “doesn’t guarantee that it would be used in this way.”
Reid’s spokesman described the Arizona law last year as “legalization of racial profiling.” Reid has also said he supports the DOJ lawsuit against Arizona regarding SB 1070.
….the law identifies an array of situations in which racial profiling would be prohibited, “includ[ing]: interviews; traffic and pedestrian stops; frisks and other types of body searches; consensual or nonconsensual searches of the persons or possessions (including vehicles) of individuals using any form of public or private transportation, including motorists and pedestrians.”
If this bill comes to a vote, it will put Republicans between a rock and a hard place.
Given the possibility that Reid and Cardin’s bill could thwart high-profile efforts to mitigate illegal immigration, the vote on the legislation puts illegal immigration hawks in the Republican Party in an uncomfortable position. Either they vote for the law at the potential expense of allies in state government, or they risk the negative publicity that would come from voting against a ban on racial profiling during a presidential election cycle.
Cardin has got to go!