Two months into his post, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has hit the ground for a listening tour. That tour brought him to Dearborn, Michigan this week - the city with the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the country. And it apparently didn't go well for Sec. Kelly at one small roundtable discussion with leaders from our community. In what the media described as a “tense exchange,” Sec. Kelly reportedly got up from his chair while threatening to leave because of persistent questioning about DHS's use of discriminatory profiling at the border. Sec. Kelly's defense of his department's approach and tactics while face-to-face with the American citizens whose civil rights are being impinged maybe a case of “the lady doth protest too much.” Being confronted with the on-the-ground implications of things like the Muslim Ban, domestic counter-terrorism programs, and rampant watch-listing must indeed be a difficult thing—all of which are, of course, programs that only exist because they are based on discriminatory profiling. So when Sec. Kelly’s sensibilities are rightly offended by profiling, we are left with two thoughts: 1) Sec. Kelly doesn’t know that his DHS officials regularly engage in profiling or 2) DHS has finally issued their much-anticipated updated guidance on profiling based on Spokesperson David Lapan’s comments after the meeting in Dearborn. Lapan said, "Secretary Kelly reiterated that CBP and ICE officers carry out their duties professionally, humanely and in accordance with the law, noting that they do not target individuals based on race, religion or political views." We are going to opt for the latter and assume that programs like this will cease. Also, we look forward to a more formal rollout of the new DHS guidance on profiling—you know the guidance that doesn’t allow for the national security, border security and local law enforcement loopholes. That is what Secretary Kelly was talking about, right? That’s what their comments mean. Thanks Secretary Kelly!

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