AG Rosenblum Leads Report on Status of Civil Rights in America

December 19, 2018
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Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum led a coalition of 17 states that have submitted a report to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on the civil rights work of state attorneys general. The report was submitted in response to the Commission’s call for comments earlier this fall at a public briefing entitled “Are Rights a Reality?  Evaluating Federal Civil Rights Enforcement.”

In the report, AG Rosenblum and her colleagues document how they have stepped forward to shoulder much of the civil rights enforcement work in light of inaction or delay by the U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) and other federal agencies. A full copy of the letter can be found here.

“Actions and threats by the current administration to strip basic civil rights away from the people of our states, including immigrants, transgender individuals and those simply seeking fair and equal access to housing, employment, health care and lending, have led state attorneys general across the nation to try to pick up the pieces,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “Over the last two years, many federal agencies have shut down, or drastically reduced, their civil rights efforts. States must be on the front lines to ensure the rights of all who live and work in our states are protected.”

The letter outlines a variety of examples of federal retreat from civil rights enforcement. Examples include immigration and asylum, housing, transgender rights, consumer financial protection and equal employment.

“In recent months, federal agencies have scaled back or eliminated their civil rights divisions, reducing their civil rights work consistent with the hostile policies of the current administration,” write the state AG’s.  “Indeed, the administration has simultaneously launched attacks on entire classes of individuals traditionally protected by agency regulations and laws.”

States that signed the letter include Oregon, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.