Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives saw an amendment reach the floor designed to stop all federal funds from flowing to any law enforcement entity that the Department of Justice has identified as engaging in any racial or religious profiling. The amendment, which was obviously intended to address the recent controversy about the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, was supported by every Democrat in New York City, but ultimately failed to pass largely on Republican-led opposition.
“In September of last year, I asked the Department of Justice to investigate what we now know was a pattern of surveillance and infiltration by the New York Police Department against innocent American Muslims in the absence of a valid investigative reason,” the amendment’s sponsor, New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt, said, launching into a lengthy criticism of the NYPD but finally declaring the legislation had broader aims. “Profiling is wrong. Profiling on the basis of the race, ethnicity, and religion is a violation of core constitutional principles.”
Congressman Pete King, an outspoken defender of all things related to homeland security, took to the floor to blast the amendment.