The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL)'s Antidiscrimination Group engages in policy work to ensure fair and equitable treatment of individuals and guard against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and age in DHS programs and activities in accordance with:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), which protects persons from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance;
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education or training program receiving federal financial assistance, with a limited number of defined exceptions;
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), which forbids discrimination on the basis of an individual's disability by all federal agencies and in all federally funded activities;
- The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, which prohibits discrimination in federally supported activities on the basis of age;
- Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services with Persons with Limited English Proficiency (2000), which requires that persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) have meaningful access to federally conducted programs and activities, including services and benefits; and
- Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (February 11, 1994), which requires each covered agency to "make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations."
The Antidiscrimination Group's work includes:
- Providing technical assistance to DHS Components and recipients of DHS financial assistance on meeting their obligations under these federal civil rights laws;
- Coordinating with federal partners, including reporting to and collaborating with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division pursuant to Executive Order 12250, Leadership and Coordination of Nondiscrimination Laws (November 2, 1980), to ensure consistent and robust implementation of these laws; and
- Engaging with community stakeholders, especially in connection with disasters, to ensure protection of individuals with disabilities, diverse racial and ethnic communities, and LEP individuals.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
CRCL coordinates a Department-wide Title VI Compliance Program to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in its federally-assisted programs. Program elements include: civil rights assurances, pre- and post-award reviews and monitoring, complaint investigations, data collection, training, and technical assistance.
DHS recognizes the importance of being able to communicate effectively with individuals, including those with limited English proficiency (LEP), across our many missions and functions. CRCL leads the Department's efforts to provide meaningful access for LEP individuals in its programs, activities, and services. To implement Executive Order 13166, the Department released its first-ever Language Access Plan in February 2012.
- Secretary's Letter Regarding the Language Access Plan
- Summary of the Language Access Plan
- DHS Language Access Plan
In addition to the Department-wide plan, CRCL assisted each DHS Component in developing its own individual language access plan to provide a framework for improving their delivery of language services to diverse communities. CRCL received feedback on these plans from stakeholders and the public an online open comment period and a national stakeholder engagement meeting. The Language Access webpage provides links to all DHS language access plans and other related resources.
Title VI, through its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of national origin, requires that grantees and other recipients of DHS assistance also provide meaningful access to LEP individuals. CRCL provides technical assistance to Department grantees on fulfilling language access obligations.
CRCL works to ensure full inclusion and equal access under Section 504 and other federal civil rights laws for all persons with disabilities served or encountered by DHS. This effort includes providing coordination and guidance to DHS Components regarding their federally conducted activities, and providing guidance to recipients of DHS financial assistance as part of the Department's compliance program.
The Disability Access webpage offers information and resources on providing equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in DHS programs and activities. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, DHS developed a series of products that underscore the Department's commitment to full inclusion and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in DHS programs and activities.
- DHS Commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, Blog by Acting Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer Tamara Kessler
- DHS Management Directive on Nondiscrimination for Individuals with Disabilities in DHS-Conducted Programs and Activities
- Rehabilitation Act Anniversary Video
- Guide to Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities
Civil Rights in Emergencies and Disasters
CRCL supports individual and community resilience to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other emergencies. Through guidance, planning and coordination, CRCL ensures that civil rights and civil liberties are respected during development of emergency-related federal policies and procedures. In addition, prior, to, during, and following a disaster, the Antidiscrimination Group coordinates CRCL's efforts to engage representatives of impacted communities and disseminate information to governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to ensure the protection of individuals with disabilities, immigrant populations, and racially and ethnically diverse communities, including those with limited English proficiency.
- Civil Rights in Emergencies and Disasters webpage
- Guidance to State and Local Governments and Other Federally Assisted Recipients Engaged in Emergency Preparedness, Response,
Mitigation, and Recovery Activities on Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Notice for Recipients on Nondiscrimination During Disasters
- Guide to Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities
- Tips for Effectively Communicating with the Whole Community in Disasters
- Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services (PDF, 27 pages, 112 KB)
- CBP and ICE Statement Regarding Hurricane Harvey (available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese)
Resources for Recipients of DHS Financial Assistance
Recipients of federal financial assistance from DHS-awarding Components (such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Coast Guard, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) are required to administer their programs and activities in accordance with Federal civil rights authorities and DHS implementing regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), disability, sex, age, or religion. CRCL is responsible for ensuring DHS-assisted programs or activities comply with Federal nondiscrimination laws and regulations and provides resources to assist recipients in understanding their obligations.
DHS Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Report
The DHS Environmental Justice Strategy is the Department’s commitment to meeting the goals of Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, which requires each covered agency to make environmental justice part of its mission. In August 2011, DHS joined 16 other federal agencies in signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Executive Order 12898. The DHS Environmental Justice Strategy addresses those homeland security missions most applicable to environmental justice considerations, primarily in the context of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Title VI. CRCL co-chairs the DHS Environmental Justice Working Group and facilitates the Department’s participation in the Interagency Environmental Justice Working Group.
- DHS Environmental Justice Strategy and Annual Implementation Report
- Read the Presidential Proclamation on the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice (February 11, 2014)
By mail or phone:
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Building 410, Mail Stop #0190
Washington, D.C. 20528
Toll Free: 1-866-644-8360
Toll Free TTY: 1-866-644-8361