This is an invitation by 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 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to join DHS senior leadership in a virtual engagement with community leaders across the country to gather feedback on the DHS Equity Action Plan (“Plan”). The meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 22, 2022, from 2:30 – 4:00 PM EDT. This is an open invitation, so please feel free to forward to other community members who may be interested. To register for this meeting and receive call-in details, please fill out this registration form. Participants with disabilities will have an opportunity to request an accommodation on the registration form.
Background: In January 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 13985 on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” The EO “outlines a whole-of-government mandate to advance equity for the American public through a comprehensive approach to all government practices.” Following a 200-day assessment led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Equity Action Task Force, DHS published a DHS Equity Action Plan in a coordinated, online release by cabinet-level agencies on April 14, 2022, providing access to information in the Plan in eight languages.
In this Plan, DHS reported its findings on: (a) potential barriers that underserved communities and individuals may face to enrollment in and access to benefits and services in the programs selected for inclusion in this effort; (b) potential barriers that underserved communities and individuals may face in accessing contracting opportunities; (c) whether new policies, regulations, or guidance documents may be necessary to advance equity in agency actions and programs; and (d) the operational status and level of institutional resources available to offices or divisions within the agency that are responsible for advancing civil rights. Ultimately, the DHS Equity Action Plan identified seven key programs with the greatest potential for advancing equity in DHS operations and activities, which are:
- Applying for naturalization
- Accessing humanitarian protection during immigration processing
- Bidding on DHS contracts
- Countering all forms of terrorism and targeted violence
- Filing complaints and seeking redress in DHS programs and activities
- Airport screening
- Accessing Trusted Traveler Programs
Meeting: During our meeting, community stakeholders across the country will have an opportunity to hear from senior DHS officials on the importance of the Equity Action Plan and gathering feedback from community members, as well as to participate in breakout sessions on the key program areas listed above. It is our goal to ensure diverse representation of community voices in this engagement, with a particular focus on traditionally underserved or marginalized communities that have direct equities related to the report’s findings. Please aim to participate for the entirety of the call, as we will hold a full group session together following the breakout sessions to learn from one another.