ALBANY—State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has revived his proposal for racial profiling by security personnel, in light of the attempted bombing of a passenger jet landing in Detroit.
“I think this is a unique situation,” said Hikind, who introduced a similar bill in 2005 after the London subways were attacked and NYPD officers began randomly searching the bags of some passengers.
Hikind told me by phone that if there is a “compelling governmental interest” to consider race in college admissions, as the Supreme Court affirmed in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, the same is true in a climate of heightened security risk.
“If this isn’t a compelling government interest to do this, the war on terror, then what is? Why is there a difference?” Hikind said. “No one is saying we shouldn’t check Norwegians–blonde, blue-eyed people–but we’re saying let’s be realistic about it. Their profile happens to be young, Muslim men of Middle-eastern and South Asian background. Is that the only thing you look at? Of course not.”
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up the airliner on Christmas Day, would not have fit that profile, Hikind’s critics note. (See the below video.)
Hikind told me his bill does not yet have a senate sponsor, and that he realizes it faces an uphill road to passage. It has not yet been introduced in the Assembly.
“You know what? The debate is healthy,” he said.