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Title VI Overview and Requirements at the Department of Homeland Security

The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) oversees enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. CRCL coordinates a federally assisted compliance program, and provides guidance and technical assistance to Department recipients to help organizations understand their obligations under Title VI and related civil rights authorities.

Title VI Overview

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects persons from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Accordingly a recipient of financial assistance (in the form of a grant, cooperative agreement, or other type of assistance) from the Department must provide access to their programs and services on a nondiscriminatory basis. 

No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.)

DHS implementing regulations (6 C.F.R § 21 and 44 C.F.R § 7) prohibit intentional discrimination, as well as discriminatory effects, in Department assisted programs and activities:

Specifically, recipients are forbidden from “Utiliz[ing] criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting persons to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, or national

In operating a federally assisted program, a recipient may not, on the basis of race, color or national origin, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, take the following actions:

  • Deny program services, financial aids, or other benefits;
  • Provide different program services, financial aids or other benefits, or provide them in a manner different from that provided to others;
  • Segregate or separately treat persons in any matter related to the receipt of any program service, financial aid or benefit;
  • Restrict in any way the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any program, service, financial aid or other benefits;
  • Treat persons differently from others in determining eligibility to receive services, financial aids, or other benefits;
  • Deny persons the opportunity to participate in the program through the provision of services, or affording the opportunity to do so differently from those afforded others under the program; or
  • Deny persons the opportunity to participate as a member of a planning, advisory or similar body.

In addition to intentional discrimination, Title VI regulations prohibit recipients from utilizing criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting persons to discrimination, whether or not there was intent to discriminate. This list is not intended to be exhaustive as there are many forms of illegal discrimination based on race, color, or national origin that can limit the opportunities of protected populations to gain equal access to program and services.  Please refer to the Department’s implementing regulations for more information on specific prohibited actions and other important compliance requirements.

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Last Published Date: May 28, 2019
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