NAACP Opposes Policy Rescissions Aimed at Racial and Ethnic Minority Rights
WHEREAS, "guidance" documents, fact sheets, and the like which are issued by federal agencies are official papers written by government representatives which are used by businesses, lawyers, and the public at large to interpret and understand laws and regulations. They usually offer explanations in plain English on how to comport oneself and stay within the bounds of a law; and
WHEREAS, on July 3, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III announced that the Department of Justice was rescinding, or doing away with, 24 "guidance" documents and other similar tools, most of which had been developed over the past eight years, but at least one which had been written by the administration of George W. Bush; and
WHEREAS, by rescinding the guidances, Attorney General Sessions changed the law by altering how the laws are interpreted and enforced; and
WHEREAS, the subjects of the 24 guidances which Attorney General Sessions rescinded were all intended to protect all Americans, and most disproportionately guarded and explained the rights of racial and ethnic minorities; and
WHEREAS, Rescissions #s1-7, revoke guidances regarding the way children are treated when they are suspected or accused of breaking the law; revoking the guidances made dramatic changes in the manner in which youth can be and are treated. The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, (JJDPA), contains four "core" requirements with which states must comply to be eligible for JJDPA funds (the four core requirements are "removal," which requires that juveniles are not to be housed with adult inmates (with limited exceptions); "separation," which is when children are housed with adults under one of those limited exceptions, they must be separated from the sights and sounds of adult incarceration; "deinstitutionalization," which provides alternatives to jail for youths who commit acts which, due to their age, are crimes (things adults would not be arrested for, such as drinking, truancy, running away, and smoking); and "disproportionate minority contact, by which states must assess and address the disproportionate number of youth of color who come into contact with law enforcement; and
WHEREAS, Rescission #8 involves a guidance which provides states and local governments with advice on how to best comply with a federal program which reimburses them for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens who have committed serious crimes; and
WHEREAS, rescission #9 revokes a guidance in which the U.S. Department of Justice, together with the U. S. Department of Education, conducted research into whether schools disproportionately punish students on the basis of race, national origin, native language, gender, or disability. It also deals with research into the role of school resource officers; and
WHEREAS, rescissions #10 and #11 do away with advice sheets for home buyers and home owners. Specifically, rescission #10 involves people seeking a mortgage. Rescission #11 involves warnings against so-called "predatory" home equity loans. It warns people, especially those with poor credit and the elderly, to carefully review the terms of home improvement loans; and
WHEREAS, rescission #12 revokes a document prepared to alert all Americans about the unconstitutional nature of being discriminated against on the basis of their national origin. To be clear: it is still illegal to discriminate against any American over issues arising from their national origin (or a family member's national origin); and
WHEREAS, rescissions #13 and #14 deal with workers' rights for various classes of immigrants to the U.S. Specifically, rescission #13 revokes a document prepared to assist immigrants who encounter employment discrimination, while rescission #14 revokes a guidance entitled "Refugees and Asylees Have the Right to Work;" and
WHEREAS, rescissions #s15-17 discard tools, developed in 2012 "in response to requests for technical assistance from courts and others involved in planning and implementing measures to improve language assistance services in courts for limited English proficient (LEP) individuals;" and
WHEREAS, rescissions #18-24 are intended to explain an individual's rights and guarantees under Federal affirmative action policies. Specifically, rescissions #18 - #19 and #21-#24 revoke tools developed to explain the continued use of race by institutes of higher education; rescission #20 discards a tool entitled, "the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity and Avoid Racial Isolation in Elementary and Secondary Schools." Rescission #24 revokes a Q&A sheet prepared to explain Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action. That sheet noted, "[This document] reiterates the continued support of the Departments of Education and Justice for the voluntary use of race and ethnicity to achieve diversity in education;" and
WHEREAS, in one press release, President Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions eliminated two dozen tools which had been developed to help fully realize all Americans rights and protections under law.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP decries the rescission of these documents, many of which took years to develop, and calls on the Attorney General to reverse his decision and reinstate these guidances and interpretations; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP calls on all its units and Members to be educated about the rights and protections guaranteed to all Americans under the law, and to share their knowledge with others in their community.