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Safety Management Systems

Slaw: Racial profiling and national security issues

With allegations of racial profiling in Arizona’s new immigration law abuzz throughout the media this week, it was interesting for me to come upon the speaking notes for a recent speech by the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission; the speech brings the issue closer to home.

The stated intent of the Arizona law is to ensure the security and well-being of American citizens living in Arizona, by protecting them from illegal immigrants and drugs. The new law requires local and state law enforcement to question people they suspect are in Arizona illegally about their immigration status. It also makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally; meaning, immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the United States could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500 US, and ultimately deported.

Back in Canada, the CHRC Chief Commissioner’s speech discussed a study that will examine Safety Management Systems, which consist in part of behavioural recognition techniques, a vital element of aviation security screening. It’s a whole other issue to racial profiling you might say, but it’s one that is similar and aiming at safeguarding national security.

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