Some may think that racial profiling is non-existent, however, I would like to bring the situation into focus and show that it is still in existence and has been observed in the past and now in the current year.
Although, more than fifty percent of the time racial profiling is conducted it is against a man or woman of color; an African-American in other words....
Proponents of racial profiling suggest that minorities are disproportionately subject to stops compared with whites because minorities are disproportionately involved in criminal activity, a variant of statistical discrimination theory. This framework suggests that it is rational, given the distribution of minorities in the criminal justice system, to target minorities for criminal behavior (Weitzer and Tuch 2005). More recent studies suggest that the rationale behind statistical discrimination explanations for racial profiling is discounted when considering the bulk of studies that show that the rates of contraband discovered in traffic stops, for example, are quite similar across racial and ethnic groups (Tomaskovic-Devey, Mason, and Zingraff 2004). Another common argument against the rational discrimination thesis is that racial profiling criminalizes minority groups as a whole, creating distrust or a disconnect between law enforcement and the community. A common refrain from proponents of the practice is that citizens who are innocent of wrongdoing should not be concerned about law enforcement contact or should look upon the practice as merely an inconvenience.
In the United States, advocates for minority groups and immigrants argue that flawed ideas in law enforcement have associated race and national origin with crime. This has the impact of criminalizing minorities and immigrants. Such racial profiling in law enforcement is based on several reasons (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights 2004). The first is the stereotype that minorities / immigrants commit a majority of crimes and that profiling them is a good strategy for using police resources. A related idea is that most minority members / immigrants are criminals. Both assertions are baseless (Harris 2002; Leadership Conference on Civil Rights 2004). This linkage is based on prison statistics showing disproportionate rates of minority imprisonment. Unfortunately, few people connect racial profiling with higher imprisonment rates. Nor do they stop to think that non-Hispanic white privilege with regard to not being stopped or searched might contribute to their underrepresentation in the prison population (aided by their higher socioeconomic status and ability to hire good lawyers) (Harris 1999).
Research indicates that African Americans commit drug-related crimes at a rate that is proportional to their numbers in the population. Although they have been disproportionately profiled for traffic stops, there is a lower rate of finding evidence of drug possession than for when non-Hispanic whites are stopped. Indeed, a General Accounting Office Report (2000) has indicated the opposite. The reason is that race is not a reliable cue. Behavioral and informational cues are better. Switching away from disproportionate searching of minority women and increasing searches of men and non-Hispanic whites reduced the number of searches and greatly increased the success rate.
Near the U.S.-Mexico border everyone is a suspect, citizen and noncitizen alike, with little recourse to Fourteenth Amendment rights regarding inspection of documents and vehicles. The problems of human and drug smuggling have made everyone a suspect to be questioned, and the Supreme Court has validated the right to see ID and to ask questions about suspicious behavior. In the interior, both citizens and noncitizens became suspects in the war on terror, but national origin and religious profiling focused on immigrant communities with, by and large, fruitless results. Citizens have not sufficiently considered the loss of civil liberties they suffered after 9/11 or when they should get them back, and most are unaware that they have diminished rights within 100 miles of a border.
Security” and chief Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria traces these acts of racial profiling all the way back to 1790 during the French-American War (Zakaria 308).
These assumptions "of prejudice and negative… beliefs about members of certain [race] groups … reinforce the status quo", and can often lead to unnecessary situations (Pager 11).
The criteria that might distinguish an unauthorized immigrant overlap with legal resident and native-born minority status are racialized physical features, language and/ or accent, and signs of lower- or working-class social status. Ultimately, when police are asked to enforce immigration status, unless they ask everyone, any “suspicion” is likely to be based on racial or national origin profiling unless there is a cause for a traffic stop, such as speeding. Because there is no basis for visually distinguishing between unauthorized and legal residents, including citizens, the law has discriminatory implications.
Advocates of the law present ideas such as the “force multiplier” effect in the context of Arizona’s upsurge in unauthorized immigration. Drug and human trafficking and spillover drug-related violence are major concerns. Being able to establish legal status aids law enforcement in preventing these activities. Nevertheless, immigration is the domain of federal law and the Arizona bill may be unconstitutional. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against it. An lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the bill violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which provides for federal authority over the states and, by legal precedent, immigration. Kurt Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law and codrafter of the AZ bill, argues that the bill is constitutional because of the principle of “concurrent enforcement.” In other words, the state law parallels federal law, which makes first entry without authorization documentation a misdemeanor (Schwartz and Archibold 2010). The leading criticism of the bill is that it justifies racial profiling (Schwartz and Archibold 2010). Thinking critically about behavioral or situational cues, it is difficult to come up with any that distinguish someone who is not lawfully in the country.
Racial profiling controversy was renewed by the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. SB 1070 made it a state misdemeanor crime for a noncitizen to be in the United States without having federal visa or immigration documents, which are required to be carried, and authorizes police to enforce immigration law (Archibold 2010). State and local police are required to check immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that an individual is an unauthorized entrant. Police can make a warrantless arrest on the basis of probable cause if they believe an individual without documents is an unauthorized alien. After arrest, individuals cannot be released until establishing legal status by criteria of § 1373(c) of Title 8 of the U.S. Code. A first-time offender can be fined $500 and given up to six months of jail time. In order to avoid arrest, permanent resident aliens and visitors with visas must carry identification documents such as an Arizona driver’s license, a nonoperator identification license, or any recognized federal, state, or local ID certifying immigration status.
Arguments in favor of involving local and state police in federal immigration enforcement include that they are a “multiple force amplifier.” If they are allowed to use immigration status as a factor in questioning and arrest, it increases the likelihood that unauthorized immigrants will be detected. Giving police the go-ahead to probe is considered to assist in detecting terrorist activity. The 9/11 Commission (Eldridge et al. 2004) found that 4 of the 9/11 hijackers were subject to routine traffic stops and could have been detained for speeding ticket or visa violations. An argument against expanding state and local police power is that it would alienate and reduce the cooperation of immigrant community residents. Communities with a concentration of unauthorized immigrants may be less cooperative and underreport crime and victimization to police if they fear that family or community members will be deported (Romero 2006; Martinez 2007). Community policing strategies necessitate frequent contact and good relations between police and neighborhood residents. Police and neighborhood relations are strained if there is fear (Martinez 2007). Furthermore, many immigrants’ original homelands are characterized by police corruption and thus these people may be reluctant to trust American police. Racial and national origin screening is another cause for immigrant concern (Krestsedemas 2008, 346–351).