Trump Wants to Allow Discrimination with Billions of Dollars of Federal Funding

Last Friday, the Trump administration announced
an alarming new proposal that would strip away critical protections against discrimination
in grants funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Initially, we thought this proposal would serve to fulfill Trump’s promise to give taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies a license to discriminate. This proposal does that —and so much more.

Trump proposes to eliminate existing regulations that
prohibit discrimination in HHS grant-funded programs based on sex, sexual
orientation, gender identity, or religion, inviting discrimination against
recipients of critical services. Here are just a few examples of the
discrimination this rule would allow:

  • Meals on Wheels and other HHS-funded community
    meal programs designed to support older adults could refuse to deliver food to
    older Americans who are Jewish, Muslim, or LGBTQ.
  • Federally funded foster care agencies could
    refuse to place children with families because of their faith or sexual
    orientation, regardless of the children’s needs.
  • Head Start grant recipients and other federally
    funded child care facilities could refuse to serve children with married
    same-sex parents or whose parents are of a minority faith. They could also
    refuse to provide services to transgender youth.

You read all of that right.

Yet no one should be surprised that the Trump administration
is proposing such a sweeping change that will allow discrimination in a wide variety
of federal programs that play a critical – even life-saving – role in the lives
of millions of Americans.

So far this year, the Trump administration has moved to roll
back fair
protections that not only aim to address housing segregation, but
also help survivors of domestic violence. Trump’s Labor Department wants to
give federal contractors
a license to discriminate against employees. Immigrants who have a disability,
as well as those who may be eligible for public assistance due to their age or
income, have also been the subject of attack
by the Trump administration. One of the Trump administration’s first actions in
2017 was to roll back protections for transgender students and this year, it
told college campuses to create a double
that treats discrimination on the basis of sex different from
discrimination on the basis of race.

This isn’t even the first proposal from HHS. The Department
has proposed to eliminate
protections from discrimination in health care that have been crucial to
transgender people, women and many others. It is also working to allow
hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices to be able to refuse
based on the provider’s religious beliefs.

Just one month ago, the Trump administration stood before
the Supreme Court and said that firing someone for being LGBTQ should be
perfectly legal as well.

What gives me hope is that ACLU supporters are fighting
back. Supporters have taken more than 130,000 actions to stop federal agencies from
enacting Trump’s previous attempts to open the door to discrimination and will
soon have the chance to comment directly on the latest discriminatory proposal.

The comment period for this proposal to allow discrimination
through HHS will be open for 30 days once the rule is published in the Federal
Register, which could be any day.

Whether Trump is trying to rollback long-standing
nondiscrimination protections, permit discrimination in the name of religion,
or allow taxpayer-funded discrimination like Friday’s proposal, the ACLU will
continue to fight back.

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