From the Justice Department to the Department of Education to the Department of Commerce, contempt for enforcement of civil rights laws is an organizing principle of this administration. In some attempts to minimize the prospective damage, the US Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan agency, will launch a two-year investigation into the effects this administration’s policy and budget has on civil right enforcement. Many individuals vulnerable to discrimination, however, will face a significant decrease in the basic protections offered. For at least four years, this administration is likely to do only the bare minimum required by law to enforce civil rights and anti-discrimination.
Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, threatens access to public education for all, however, students who have mental illness, autism, or intellectual disability, will suffer the most. Ms. DeVos’ platform to expand voucher programs and give families taxpayer dollars to attend private and religious schools will slowly but surely dismantle the current public education system.
Prior to the 2016 election, Republicans and Democrats were coming to an unprecedented consensus on the need for criminal justice reform. Both sides of the isle recognized that modern criminal justice policies that had made the United States the world’s leader in incarceration were not working. Instead, the individuals caught up in the system were disproportionately people of color and many had severe mental illness or disabilities. How the new administration will approach the issue of criminal justice reform remains a question. However, if the consensus on major reforms remains bipartisan, legislation may have a veto-proof majority regardless of the new administration’s stance.
In the Republican platform, adopted during the 2016 election season, there was some emphasis on protection of families. In this post we will touch on history and statements of the incoming president, as well as his appointees and nominees, on issues that may affect the rights and well-being of the family structure and the social supports put in place to protect families.