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Press Release

Department of Justice Issues New Rules on Discriminatory Profiling: Brennan Center Reacts

The Department has made some upgrades to its policy but still gives agents too much discretion to profile.

May 25, 2023

For Immediate Release

May 25, 2023

Today the Department of Justice released new rules against discriminatory profiling by federal law enforcement. The rules update the department’s 2014 “Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity,” which is also followed by the Department of Homeland Security. 

Faiza Patel, senior director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:

“The Department of Justice has made some upgrades to its racial profiling policy, such as extending its reach to more personnel and covering people with disabilities. But the policy leaves in place a highly discretionary standard for when its personnel can apply factors such as race, religion, or ethnicity in the course of their duties. Too many Americans will still experience discrimination unless the department ensures that this grey area isn’t abused.

“Given the longstanding record of government agencies profiling Black and brown people, the Department now has the responsibility to make sure that Americans aren’t wrongly targeted and to convince the public — especially communities of color — that its policy is preventing invidious discrimination.

“We applaud President Joe Biden’s commitment to ending discriminatory profiling. The Department of Justice’s new guidance is an important step towards living up to that commitment. Now, the administration must give the highest priority to measuring whether the policy is working and establish  a regular process for reviewing its results. And to end discriminatory profiling, the Department of Homeland Security must also quickly issue a rigorous, comprehensive anti-discrimination policy, as anticipated in the guidance.”


In May 2022, President Biden ordered the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security to review the Justice Department’s 2014 guidance on profiling and consider whether it should be updated. The guidance released today is the result of that review.

Brennan Center Resources