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Earthjustice Condemns the Trump Administration’s Attack on Civil Rights

A proposed housing rule guts the ability to account for discrimination
NAACP supporters picket housing discrimination in 1963

Members and supporters of the NAACP picket outside of the Open Occupancy Hearing at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan in August 1963.

Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University
August 23, 2019
Washington, D.C. —

The Trump administration is working to gut the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark civil rights law that ended legalized racism in education, employment, and public accommodations.

Part of that law prohibits the use of federal resources in a way that discriminates based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

And now, Trump appointee Ben Carson, who serves as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has proposed a new federal housing regulation that says the department will effectively drop its legal responsibility to avoid discriminatory impact when setting policy decisions. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register earlier this week.

“This illegal attack is a slap in the face to everyone who believes that justice and equity matter,” said Patrice Simms, Earthjustice Vice President of Litigation. “Civil rights advocates are well aware that this attack is motivated by Trump’s friends in the mortgage lending and insurance industries who see requirements that all people be treated fairly under the law as hindrances to their potential profit.”

While Earthjustice does not work on housing discrimination issues, this organization has worked for years to foster solutions towards environmental discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.

Simms noted the nexus between discriminatory housing policies and environmental discrimination.

“This nation has a lengthy history of discriminatory housing policies, including federal subsidies for builders after World War II on the condition that they wouldn’t sell homes to African Americans,” said Simms.

“We know that too many neighborhoods that became segregated due to racist housing and lending policies are the very same neighborhoods where communities of color continue to suffer from an unfair burden of harmful pollution.”

“We are compelled to speak out against the proposal and call on everyone who is opposed to send comments during the 60-day comment period,” said Simms. “We stand with our many allies in the civil rights community to protect the rights that so many people fought and died for.”

A coalition of groups lead by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is asking everyone who cares about discrimination to learn more and send comments to HUD.

Contacts

Keith Rushing, Earthjustice, (202) 797-5236

Patrice Simms, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 5213

We're the lawyers for the environment, and the law is on our side.