Donald Trump Thinks We Should Profile Muslims — Here's What Happened Last Time We Tried

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Donald Trump thinks racially profiling Muslims is a good idea, according to an interview with CBS' John Dickerson on Face the Nation Sunday.

"I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country," Trump explained. Dickerson had asked the presumptive GOP nominee whether he still supported the controversial tactic, which he'd suggested during another Face the Nation interview in December.

Profiling, for those who don't know, means targeting people for suspicion of crime based on the individual's race, ethnicity, religion or nationality, according to the ACLU.

"You know, I hate the concept of profiling," Trump added. "But we have to start using common sense, and we have to use, you know, we have to use our heads ... we really have to look at profiling. We have to look at it seriously."

Over the past eight months or so, Donald Trump has advocated targeting Muslims in order to find and stop terrorist attacks. There's just one problem he failed to mention: U.S. law enforcement officials have already tried this as a counterterrorism tactic.

"[Not] one single piece of actionable intelligence ever came out of that unit in its years of existence." — NYPD Chief William Bratton

The New York City Police Department's Demographics Unit spent more than a decade surveilling Muslim communities in the Tri-State area hoping to suss out terrorist plots between 2003 and 2014. The program turned out to be a colossal failure.

"[Not] one single piece of actionable intelligence ever came out of that unit in its years of existence," NYPD Chief William Bratton admitted during a press conference in November.

This should surprise nobody: Most data that's been collected on racial profiling in the United States suggests it does not work. The NYPD's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy — in which officers detained and searched people at will until a federal court ruled the practice unconstitutional in 2014 — was another high-profile example of such large-scale, institutionalized profiling at work.

In this case, civil rights groups found that black people and Latinos were disproportionately
targeted for stops by police — even though they were less likely to have contraband or weapons on their person. In fact, the most likely offenders turned out to be white people. Nine out of 10 people stopped overall had no contraband or weapons, but white people stopped in 2012 were twice as likely to be caught with weapons and three times more likely to be caught with contraband than black people, according to a report from the office of then-Public Advocate, now mayor, Bill de Blasio.

NYPD Chief William BrattonSource: Kathy Willens/AP
NYPD Chief William Bratton  Kathy Willens/AP

Another of Trump's counterterrorism proposals has also been tried and failed. In December, the Donald called for an all-out ban on Muslim immigrants entering the U.S. According to a report from the Constitution Project, U.S. immigration officials detained over 5,000 foreign nationals in the first two years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an attempt to fight terrorism — but not a single one of them was convicted of any terrorist crime.

It's remarkable how, even with this track record of failure, Trump can still bring himself to describe these tactics as "common sense" — when, in fact, the opposite has consistently proven to be true.

Read more: NYPD Chief Speaks Harsh Truth About What Islamophobic Policies Really Accomplished
Read more: 11 Photos Show What the NYPD Really Found While Spying on Muslims All These Years
Read more: Muslims and Sikhs Respond to a White Man With an Assault Rifle at the Atlanta Airport