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How S. 1670 defines racial profiling, and why it's complicated

Photo by No Borders and Binaries/Flickr (Creative Commons)

During what's been billed as a landmark Senate hearing tomorrow, lawmakers will address racial profiling in different forms, from the profiling of Latinos under state anti-illegal immigration laws to the police profiling of black men, as well as the racial profiling that has affected Muslims, Arab Americans and others in the U.S. during a decade of counter-terrorism activity since 9/11.

A highlight of the hearing will be a bill called the End Racial Profiling Act, which has come and gone since 2001 without passage and was most recently reintroduced last year. Its principal aim is to curb profiling by law enforcement, establishing a definition for what racial profiling is, prohibiting it, and establishing a set of policies and checks and balances to prevent it.

From the bill, also known as S. 1670, the definition: