Trump and Carson’s Latest Attack on Fair Housing Racially Motivated and Unlawful
Statements from Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Experts
President Donald Trump and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson announced today – without following a required notice and comment process – a final rule that would eviscerate all oversight of state and local government compliance with fair housing laws.
“Decades of experience show us that strong HUD requirements, guidance and oversight are absolutely essential to rooting out the structural racism in housing. Without critical civil rights protections like the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, a devastating race to the bottom that will harm Black communities is the inevitable result. Once again, the Trump administration is undertaking action intended to drag America back into the Jim Crow era of racial segregation.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
“President Trump and Secretary Carson’s action is a full-frontal assault on the rule of law and an insult to the nearly 20,000 people and organizations who commented in overwhelming opposition to their prior attempt to gut landmark fair housing protections earlier this year. The civil rights movement will fight this tooth and nail.”
Thomas Silverstein, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Fair Housing Act of 1968, as well as several statutes governing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant programs, include a requirement that federal agencies and their grantees affirmatively further fair housing. Both HUD and the federal courts have long interpreted this requirement to mean that grantees must analyze the effects of their housing and community development programs and act accordingly to ensure that those programs further the goals of the fair housing, the elimination of discrimination and the development of inclusive, integrated communities.
The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which modernized the planning and oversight processes for HUD grantees, is one of the landmark civil rights accomplishments of recent years. President Trump and Secretary Carson’s action would replace meaningful planning and oversight with a bare-bones certification requirement that asks virtually nothing of grantees.
In purporting to issue this final rule without notice and comment, President Trump and Secretary Carson are blatantly attempting to circumvent the rule of law and the specific protections of the Administrative Procedure Act. Despite assertions to the contrary, there is no exemption to the requirement to provide notice and an opportunity to comment to the public that applies in the case of this rule, due in part to a HUD regulation that explicitly states that it is that agency’s policy to not rely upon the exemption that HUD is reportedly asserting applies.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org
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