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The Biden administration on Friday announced a plan to identify “seven priority areas to comprehensively advance fairness” within the Department of Homeland Security.
nicknamed the DHS Equity Action Planthe effort pledges to ensure that civil rights offices within the department “have the resources they need to carry out their essential missions.”
There are seven focus areas in the plan, all of which were selected based on feedback from “external stakeholders representing underserved communities”.
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Areas of intervention include applying for naturalization, accessing humanitarian protection during immigration processing, submitting DHS contracts, combating all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, filing complaints and seeking redress through DHS programs and activities, airport screening, and access to trusted traveler programs.
“Since January 2021, DHS has taken several significant steps to ensure that we serve the public and every community across the country fairly,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “The DHS Equity Action Plan builds on our department’s progress in better integrating equity into all DHS activities and reinforces our commitment to continue this critical work.”
As part of this plan, DHS is committed to “identifying barriers that may impede access to naturalization among underserved communities” and removing those barriers to facilitate the naturalization process. Additionally, DHS said it would “expand engagement” with small businesses that are owned by or support “members of underserved communities.”
The department also said it would work to “expand gender identification options” for certain traveler programs like TSA PreCheck.
DHS said it would work to provide additional resources to “underserved communities” with the goal of “preventing individuals from radicalizing to violence and increasing local capacity” and repelling terrorism and targeted violence in different areas.
“Diverse communities are disproportionately impacted by domestic violent extremism and targeted violence,” DHS said in the announcement.
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The move comes amid a number of issues facing the department and growing American concern over the administration’s decision to cancel title 42 health policy. Title 42, which is set to expire May 23, gave the administration the ability to bar migrants from entering the country during a health crisis such as the COVID-19[feminine] pandemic.
The equity action plan was prompted by an executive order signed by President Biden last year to advance “equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved. , marginalized and affected by poverty and persistent inequalities”.