• US Senate subcommittee set to examine controversial immigration laws

The US Senate has scheduled a hearing on the subject of racial profiling in the context of controversial immigration laws passed in Arizona and Alabama.

According to an advisory issued by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate will “explore how profiling harms law enforcement and the different faces of racial profiling, including state immigration laws in Alabama and Arizona that subject Hispanic Americans to heightened scrutiny, discriminatory law enforcement against African Americans and anti-terrorism efforts that target American Muslims.” Durbin currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

The full report from The Birmingham News can be found here.

The racial profiling debate is as emotionally charged as any in American politics, and the same can be said for immigration reform. Given that they seem so closely interconnected, perhaps the wonder is that it has taken so long for lawmakers to examine in greater detail the ways in which these issues engage with one another.

It remains to be seen whether the laws passed in Alabama and Arizona will ultimately stand. If they do, the repercussions may be felt nation-wide; one gets an impression that there are other state legislatures that remain interested in passing similar laws, pending the outcome in the Alabama and Arizona cases. If such legislation does indeed become widespread, it will add yet another wrinkle to an already-complex immigration system.