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Justice Department bans religious, racial profiling

The Justice Department announced Monday that it is banning profiling on the basis of religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The FBI will no longer be allowed to consider these characteristics in law enforcement decisions, though the policy won't apply to local police departments. The draft changes have been in consideration for months, NBC News reports, and the announcement marks the first time racial profiling will be banned from national security cases.

"Profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective, because it wastes precious resources and undermines the public trust," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "Particularly in light of certain recent incidents we've seen at the local level — and the widespread concerns about trust in the criminal justice process which so many have raised throughout the nation — it's imperative that we take every possible action to institute strong and sound policing practices."

There are some exceptions, though — the rules won't apply to the Department of Homeland Security during airport screenings, and it won't affect those guarding the southwestern U.S. border. The new rules also don't apply to the Secret Service.