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Scott McInnis: No wonder he likes Arizona immigration law, since he's endorsed using race in profiling

scott mcinnis in 2001 cspan.JPG
Scott McInnis circa 2001, when he made his pitch for using race in profiling.
AM-760 host David Sirota, posting on ColoradoPols.com, shares a timely item that helps contextualize Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis's assertion that he'd like to bring Arizona's controversial immigration law to Colorado -- an opinion expressed on KHOW this morning and via his spokesman, Sean Duffy, in a just-published Westword interview.

The blog is highlighted by a 2001 U.S. House speech, on view below, in which McInnis discussed race and profiling at length.

Sirota argues in the headline of his item that this address finds McInnis endorsing racial profiling, but that's a bit misleading. Indeed, McInnis specifically says he opposes racial profiling -- using a circle-and-slash illustration to emphasize this point -- if race is the only component being used.

However, he argues passionately for the importance of using race as one of many elements employed in the profiling process.

Early on in the speech, which deals with profiling in the context of terrorism and 9/11, McInnis says, "My position is that you shouldn't exclude ethnic background any more than you should exclude age or any more than you should exclude religion when you build a profile with a number of components."

McInnis notes that "some of the people who've opposed this are taking examples, extreme examples, of abuse by law enforcement," and he acknowledges that in some of those cases, discrimination may have occurred. But he maintains that refusing to use race in profiling in order to avoid the possibility of more such mistakes is counterproductive and wrongheaded.

The speech is fascinating as history. But it's even more intriguing when juxtaposed with McInnis's current boosting of the Arizona law, which CNN says "orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally."

Watch it here.


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