August 24, 2022
By Areej Zulfiqar, Assistant to the President

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Equity Task Force & Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties (CRCL), in collaboration with the Office for Partnerships & Engagement (OPE), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), joined DHS senior leadership in a virtual community stakeholder listening session earlier this week to discuss the Equity Action Plan. Several UNA-NCA members and staff virtually attended for an opportunity to participate in a collaborative discussion, expressing their concerns, suggestions, and criticisms while also having the opportunity to ask questions.

The Equity Action Plan addresses seven key program areas: applying for naturalization; accessing humanitarian protection during immigration processing; bidding on DHS contracts; combating all forms of terrorism and targeted violence; filing complaints, and seeking redress in DHS programs and activities; airport screening; and accessing Trusted Traveler Programs. The Plan is available in nine languages, including English.

Participants were divided into breakout sessions on the aforementioned key areas in order to have a structured discussion. DHS reported its findings on enrollment and access constraints that underserved communities and individuals may face in proposed programs for inclusion, contracting opportunities, and whether new policies are required for promoting equity in programs and evaluating resources to inter-agency offices for civil rights in its 200-day equity assessment report. The need for improved language accessibility, as well as an efficient pipeline between the government, inter-governmental agencies, and citizens to foster stronger lines of communication, were among the overarching concerns. An important issue raised during the session was shifting the focus of a national action plan from a civil rights framework to human rights. This enables a focus that goes beyond a conventional understanding in order to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

The 90-minute session ended with the option to continue the conversation through DHS's community engagement division.

Need to Know


More >

Upcoming Events

More >