Sessions Rescinds Documents Protecting Minorities

Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Courtesy of the Department of Justice via Twitter)

On July 3 — the day before America was gearing up to celebrate Independence Day — Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was busy rescinding guidance intended to protect minorities. In a statement Sessions called the documents “unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.”

Sessions’ action does not do away the protections, but it makes them harder to understand for people who are not attorneys. So the way they are interpreted may change.

Revocation 9, a 2016 Dear Colleague Letter, pertains to whether minority students are disciplined at disproportionate rates and reducing the school-to-prison pipeline. Studies have shown that more Black students are severely punished at school than White students — despite the fact that more White students are enrolled in schools.

Revocation 12 is Federal Protections Against National Origin Discrimination, a document issued in 2006. It was intended to educate people about their rights as they could be discriminated against based on their “national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status.” It covered areas including education, employment, housing, law enforcement/police misconduct and voting — all areas the Trump administration has shown zero regard for when it comes to minorities.

Revocation 13, a 2009 document, is titled “Look At The Facts. Not At The Faces. Your Guide To Fair Employment.” It protects people from discrimination in the workplace regardless of their legal status, if they are authorized to work in the United States. Similarly, Revocation 14, “Refugees and Asylees Have the Right to Work,” from 2011, states plainly: “Refugees and asylees are authorized to work indefinitely.”

Sessions in June announced that the U.S. would be turning its back on victims of violence seeking asylum, writing at the time: “The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.”

Revocations 18-24 all pertain to affirmative action, which President Trump has been attacking in recent days.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reversing 2011 and 2016 legal guidelines set during the Obama administration to “avoid racial isolation” as administration officials contend the guidelines “mislead schools to believe that legal forms of affirmative action are simpler to achieve than the law allows,” according to The Wall Journal.

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