In a training video issued yesterday to Arizona law enforcement officers, state officials repeatedly discourage racial profiling when enforcing the state’s new immigration law. Still, says USA Today, some Hispanic civil rights groups say some of the instructions constitute a recipe for racial profiling. Factors like “dress,” “traveling in tandem” and “significant difficulty communicating in English” are given as clues that a person may be an illegal immigrant.
“This list has obviously been drawn to legitimize racial profiling,” said Foster Maer of LatinoJustice. “I don’t believe the police will approach white people and ask them for their papers because of the way they’re dressed.” The training video was created by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and will be made available to all 15,000 law enforcement officers in the state. Levi Bolton of the Arizona Police Association, who helped produce the training, said each factor cited is simply one that can contribute to the overall determination of a person’s legal status. “I’m wondering if people have stopped listening and emotion is carrying the furor,” Bolton said.