Commission on Civil Rights to probe Trump administration enforce

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights reportedly has received new guidance from the Trump administration on how to deal with cases of discrimination against transgender students. The department has also proposed cutting more than 40 positions in the civil-rights office.

In the Department of Education, the commission says the proposed budget and staffing cuts in the Office for Civil Rights will affect those filing complaints based on sex, race, and other specially protected class categories.

The press statement says the commission is especially concerned with what it perceives as the Department of Justice "minimizing its civil rights efforts" by placing ICE officers in courthouses and by not emphasizing the need for protection for the LGBT community or the disabled. It specifically mentions instances of harassment in which transgender students are called the wrong pronoun or name.

Ultimately, the power to enforce any changes made after the investigation will be in the hands of Congress, according to NBC. If Congress is unable to act, the executive has an obligation to offer solutions where possible.

Candice Jackson, the department's acting assistant secretary for civil rights, announced the changes in a memo sent to her staff on June 8. The drive to reduce caseloads and close cases quickly, she said, leads to an "assembly-line justice that does not open its eyes to the kinds of harms that OCR staff know exists in schools". Trump's budget still must be approved by Congress, which will likely ignore much of the proposed spending plan.

The assessment will look at whether the federal government will be able to properly enforce civil rights law with budget cuts and whether the "management practices" in place in the federal government are sufficient.

A year ago the Obama administration issued guidelines to the nation's schools through the Departments of Education and Justice, directing schools to interpret Title IX as protecting trans students from discrimination. The Trump administration will put much less of an emphasis on investigating individual complaints for evidence of broader, systemic discremination.


The Justice, Education and Labor departments and the Environmental Protection Agency were among seven agencies and departments that the commission listed as of special concern.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said her organization is still reviewing the new instructions, but said it's "unclear and seems to be further rollback of federal civil rights enforcement". "We take this charge seriously, and we look forward to reporting our findings to Congress, the President, and the American people", said Lhamon in a statement.

"The Trump administration's decision to revoke the guidance on Title IX and transgender students was a shameful move".

"Along with changing programmatic priorities, these proposed cuts would result in a risky reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country", the commission concluded, "leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination".

The two commissioners who did not favor issuing a statement expressing concern-Peter Kirsanow, a Republican, and Gail Heriot, an Independent-were appointed by GOP congressional leaders. The four presidential appointees were all selected by former President Barack Obama.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has condemned the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it was rescinding the memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.

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