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May 26th, 2013
06:00 PM ET

Federal judge says Arizona sheriff was racially profiling

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio has required prison inmates to wear pink underwear and saved taxpayers money by removing salt and pepper from prisons. He has, at times, forbidden convicted murderer Jodi Arias from speaking to the press.

The stern Maricopa County Sheriff has said the federal government will not stop him from running his office as he sees fit. But on Friday it did.

A judge ruled Friday that Arpaio's routine handling of people of Latino descent is not tough enforcement of immigration laws but instead amounts to racial and ethnic profiling.

Some of those profiled sued Arpaio, and Judge Murray Snow found their complaints to be legitimate.

The federal court in Phoenix ordered "America's Toughest Sheriff" - a moniker Arpaio sports on his website - to stop it immediately and has banned some of his operating procedures.

The sheriff's office has a history of targeting vehicles with occupants with darker skin or Latin heritage, scrutinizing them more strictly and detaining them more often, Snow ruled.

The sheriff's lawyers dispute the judge's conclusion.

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Filed under: Discrimination • Ethnicity • How we look • Race • Where we live
April 16th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Immigration bill: No path to residency without a secure border

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - The border with Mexico must be secure.

This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it.

Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States."

The bill drafted by the "Gang of Eight" senators stipulates that the security of "high risk border sectors along the Southern border" must be verified, before most undocumented immigrants can access pathways to legal residency laid out in the proposed legislation.

The bill makes exceptions for those eligible for the DREAM Act, law-abiding immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors and completed high school in the country. It also includes allowances for certain agricultural laborers.

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February 18th, 2013
08:16 AM ET

Lawsuit: Race-based request sidelined Michigan nurse

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - A nurse is suing a hospital, claiming it agreed to a man's request that no African-Americans care for his baby.

The lawsuit accuses managers at Hurley Medical Center in Flint of reassigning Tonya Battle, who has worked at the facility for 25 years, based on the color of her skin.

The man approached Battle, while she was caring for his child in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, asking to speak to her supervisor, according to the complaint filed in January by Battle's attorney.

She pointed the charge nurse in his direction.

The man, who is not named in the filing, allegedly showed her a tattoo that may have been "a swastika of some kind" and told her that he didn't want African-Americans involved in his baby's care.

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Filed under: Black in America • Discrimination • How we look • Race • Relationships • Where we live
Same-sex marriage wins first-ever ballot box approval
November 7th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Same-sex marriage wins first-ever ballot box approval

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) – For the first time, same-sex marriage has been approved by a popular vote in the United States.

Voters in Maryland and Maine passed referendums by narrow margins cementing the right for people to marry, regardless of gender.

The words man and woman "relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships must be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes," Maine's act says. "Civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license," reads Maryland's.

Maryland, Maine approve same-sex marriage

Results of a vote on the same issue was still pending in Washington, as was a measure that would ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

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