Interview: U.S. documentary highlights racial profiling amid Arizona immigration controversy

08:48, April 29, 2010      

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Anila Ali is a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan. After becoming a U.S. citizen in 2002, she continues to experience humiliating and invasive treatment by customs and border protection officials. The reason, according to a documentary film released Wednesday, is the place where she was born.

The documentary, Americans on Hold: Profiling, Prejudice, and National Security, is released by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law. Zoe Salzman, who works with the center, told Xinhua in a recent interview that they want to use the film to highlight the use of racial profiling in the U.S. government. The film, which comes on the heels of a draconian immigration measure signed into law Friday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, is also a testimony to the need for stopping the very act of racial profiling.

"Right now there's no federal law on the book that prohibits law enforcement agents and border agents from using discriminatory profiling in the way that the Arizona bill expressly mandates," said Salzman.

The Arizona law, SB 1070, mandates state law enforcement authorities to demand immigration papers, such as green card, passport or Arizona driver's license, from anyone based on the mere suspicion that they may be undocumented. Advocates are concerned that this is yet another policy that legitimizes and institutionalizes racial profiling.

Ms. Ali, the main character in the documentary, doesn't live in Arizona. She lives in Irvine, California, but it doesn't make much of a difference.

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