Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
What the Trump Administration Has Done in Just the First Five Working Days of 2018
January 9, 2018 at 8:12 pm

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By: Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy rector

Even before most Americans had finished taking down their holiday decorations, the Trump Administration kicked off the new year with a fusillade of efforts aimed at dismantling pro-equality advancements made in recent years.

In the first five working days of 2018 alone:

  • The Administration resubmitted the names of 21 far-right judicial nominees, many of them venomously anti-LGBTQ: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-announces-renomination-21-judicial-nominees/
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an immediate suspension of the 2015 “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule,” a provision of the Fair Housing Act that bans discrimination in housing: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/05/2018-00106/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing-extension-of-deadline-for-submission-of-assessment-of-fair
  • The Administration proposed a rule to expand health association rules which would allow large employers to offer plans that do not include Obamacare’s essential health benefits, nor meet the requirement that a minimal percentage of a person’s medical bills be covered by insurance. If enacted, the new rule would also allow associations to charge more for pre-existing conditions or gender. Ten major health insurance companies and health-related organizations had expressed their strong opposition to such changes to the ACA late last year, but were clearly ignored: https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/12-14-17health-letter.pdf
  • The Department of Health and Human Services rolled back ADA protections to disabled people who receive or are eligible for employment services offered through state agencies: https://www.ada.gov/ta_withdrawn.html
  • The Department of Justice directed the Census Bureau to add a question about US citizenship in the 2020 Census – a bald attempt to intimidate undocumented people and a sly means to dissuade them from participating in the Census: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4340651-Text-of-Dec-2017-DOJ-letter-to-Census.html
  • The Administration sent a shockingly aggressive negotiating position to Senate Democrats in exchange for protecting 800,000 Dreamers who are at risk of deportation. The document, dated December 27, 2017 but only received by Senate negotiators on January 5, demands the current family-based immigration system be replaced by one that is merit-based, $18 billion for the border wall, elimination of the green card diversity lottery, substantial cuts back on the number of refugees and asylum-seekers, and a range of other harsh anti-immigrant measures: https://www.eqca.org/wp-content/uploads/WH-immigration-priorites-2017.pdf
  • The Department of Homeland Security announced that 195,000 Salvadorans would be stripped of their Temporary Protective Status (TPS, a status that does not confer any pathway to citizenship but does allow people to legally live and work in the US). Because there are more people from El Salvador in the US than any other Central American country, there are more parents to US citizen children (192,700). These mixed status families are at immediate risk of deportation. (The Trump Administration announced in November that TPS for Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua would be terminated; citizens of these countries have until end-2018 to leave the US and can only remain in the US until then if they apply by February 13.)

Equality California is deeply concerned about these developments and our Washington, DC office is working with a range of other progressive organizations to fight these rollbacks and  preparing for more to come.

The stakes are very high — deeply bigoted and homophobic judicial nominees who are being rushed through Senate confirmation will serve lifetime appointments. Anti-discrimination housing laws are bedrock rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act has given people with disabilities, including those living with HIV and AIDS, a better quality of life and legal recourse when their rights are violated. Protections afforded by the Affordable Care Act have made a profound impact on LGBTQ Americans — for the first time in their lives, many in our community received high-quality, affordable and non-discriminatory healthcare.

A full and meticulous 2020 Census is critically important to all vulnerable populations — suppressing the head-count of low-income, people of color, undocumented communities and those with inconsistent housing means that their needs will not be identified, and then will not be met. Moreover, the 2020 Census will used to draw Congressional districts in 2022; political representation depends directly on an accurate census.

And the full-on assault by the Trump Administration against legal and undocumented people is as sad as it is wrong – families are being torn apart, fear and stress are at an all-time high, 15,000 young people have lost the right to drive and work in just the past four months, and LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers no longer look to the United States for help.

Buckle up. 2018 will be a challenging year, and we are ready to fight.

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