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On Eve of Trump’s One-Year Mark, National Civil Rights Leaders Highlight Actions Taken Against The Administration And Outline The Fight Ahead

For Immediate Release January 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump’s first year in office was met with significant resistance from a range of national organizations dedicated to protecting and securing equal rights for all individuals.  From the defunct voting commission to the unconstitutional Muslim ban, the administration’s attempts to tear away at the core protections valued by millions of Americans were met with successful legal challenges that continue to this day.

On the eve of Trump’s one-year anniversary in office, national leaders from the social justice movement reiterated their commitment to fight the administration’s attempts to undo recent progress to strengthen civil and human rights.  These efforts includes resisting Trump’s dangerous attempts to shut down the government over his hateful and racist opposition to a popular immigration program that supports young people who wish to be recognized as the Americans they are.

Participating in a press call Friday were: Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center, David Cole, National Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union, and Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center.

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said:

“In Year One of Trump’s presidency, we have seen this administration undertake action that harkens back to the Jim Crow era.  One of the biggest failures of this administration was its launch of the so-called Commission on Election Integrity.  Following litigation brought by our organization and others, the administration was left with no choice but to dismantle a Commission that was launched for the singular purpose of promoting voter suppression efforts on a national scale.  Trump also has focused nominating a young, virtually all-white, all-male slate of judicial nominees, threatening to undermine the integrity of our federal judiciary for decades to come.  At the same time, the Civil Rights Division under Attorney General Sessions has scaled back its  enforcement work on issues such as systemic police misconduct, education and voting rights.  We fully expect that the assault on civil rights will continue, however, we also expect that litigation and resistance efforts will intensify as a necessary check on this administration’s unlawful attempts to undermine rights that lie at the heart of our democracy.”

Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center, said:

“Former President George W. Bush said it best – ‘bigotry seems emboldened’ in our country today.  President Trump’s racist, xenophobic rhetoric – from the beginning of his campaign to this very day – has given bigots license to act on their worst instincts.  We saw it in the wave of bias-related incidents immediately after the election. And we’ve seen it in the recent uptick in hate crimes.”

David Cole, National Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union, said:

“President Trump has repeatedly shown disregard for basic constitutional norms.  We warned him that we’d ‘see you in court’ if he undertook unconstitutional initiatives, and we have.  The silver lining is that the courts have stood up for constitutional principle—repeatedly enjoining the Muslim ban, ordering the administration not to deny undocumented teenagers access to abortion, barring the transgender military service ban from taking effect, and ordering attorney access to a US citizen held incommunicado and without charges as an ‘enemy combatant’ for more than four months.”

Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center, said:

“Trump’s policies are not abstract threats, but real, harmful actions that have already affected countless members of our communities.  From the day he announced his candidacy, he made it clear that his campaign platform – and his presidency – was based on relentless, racist attacks on immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and communities of color.  We must all remain steadfast in our resolve to continue to fight these policies not only in the courtroom, but in the halls of Congress and with our communities.”

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About The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers' Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers' Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of "Moving America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.

For more information about the Lawyers' Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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