Department of homeland security updates
Department of homeland security updates
Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Transportation Issue Guidance on Title VI Protections in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery:
On August 16, the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation issued joint agency guidance, Guidance to State and Local Governments and Other Federally Assisted Recipients Engaged in Emergency Preparedness, Response, Mitigation, and Recovery Activities on Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (go.usa.gov/xkGW5) (en Español - go.usa.gov/xkGZ3, Tiếng Việt - go.usa.gov/xkGZw, Kreyòl Ayisyen - go.usa.gov/xkGZS), to recipients of federal financial assistance on the nondiscrimination protections of Title VI in emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
The guidance provides an overview of the application of Title VI in emergency and disaster management and examples of promising practices that recipients of federal financial assistance can take now, in advance of emergencies and disasters, to ensure Title VI compliance. Notably, the guidance emphasizes that Title VI obligations and protections cannot be waived during emergencies and disasters. Although every emergency or disaster situation will be different and pose its own set of unique challenges, effective planning can help avoid Title VI violations. The guidance highlights that preparation for exigent circumstances, including addressing meaningful access to services and benefits by limited English proficient communities can often make all the difference in preserving the lives of first-responders and the people they help.
Two new resources to assist recipients of federal financial assistance also accompany the guidance: the Department of Justice’s Tips and Tools for Reaching Limited English Proficient Communities in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery (go.usa.gov/xkGBs) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Checklist for Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance (go.usa.gov/xkGBJ), which facilitates the integration of the whole community into emergency-related activities. The press release announcing the guidance and accompanying materials can be found here (go.usa.gov/xkGKj).
Department of Homeland Security will Review Applicants for Controlled Equipment for Civil Rights Violations:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is developing a process to collect and review civil rights information from law enforcement and other organizations requesting to use DHS financial assistance to acquire controlled equipment, such as military-style manned aircrafts, armored and tactical vehicles, specialized firearms, and riot helmets and shields. For decades, the federal government has provided equipment to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies through excess equipment transfers, federal grants, and other programs to assist these agencies as they carry out their critical missions to keep the American people safe. The equipment that law enforcement agencies acquired through these programs includes controlled equipment, as well as administrative equipment, such as office furniture and computers.
On January 16, 2015, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13688, “Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition” to identify actions that can improve federal support for the appropriate use, acquisition, and transfer of controlled equipment by law enforcement agencies. The federal government recognized the need to carefully oversee the provision of controlled equipment and funds for controlled equipment, and to ensure that law enforcement recipients have proper training regarding the appropriate use of the equipment. This includes training on the protection of civil rights and civil liberties, and awareness of law enforcement agencies’ obligations under federal nondiscrimination laws. To implement the Executive Order and related interagency recommendations, the new DHS CRCL process will require applicants to report civil rights violations, findings of discrimination made by a court or administrative agency, and remedial agreements entered into as a result of a civil rights investigation during the past three years. DHS will review this information to determine if the applicant is in compliance with nondiscrimination requirements and, if approved to acquire controlled equipment, will carry out its programs and activities in a nondiscriminatory manner.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Proposes Civil Rights Disbursement Review Process:
The Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) is developing a new process to obtain civil rights related information from entities selected to receive an award of federal financial assistance from the Department. The proposed Civil Rights Disbursement Review Process is designed to advise recipients of their civil rights obligations and ensure that they have in place adequate policies and procedures to achieve compliance with Title VI and related requirements. The related Civil Rights Compliance Form will serve as the primary tool to obtain a comprehensive assurance of compliance from each recipient and collect pertinent civil rights information, including data on complaints and findings of discrimination, and policies and procedures to fulfill various civil rights obligations. DHS will review the data and information submitted to determine what further action (e.g., technical assistance, training, compliance review, etc.) may be needed to ensure that the recipient is able to carry out its programs and activities in a nondiscriminatory manner. DHS is committed to working proactively with recipients to address concerns that could lead to noncompliance and this new process will support efforts to obtain voluntary compliance during the award-making process.
FEMA Disseminates the Help After a Disaster Guide in More Than 20 Languages:
The Guide, which provides critical information about the Individual and Households Program and how to apply for disaster assistance, is translated in frequently encountered languages including: Arabic, Chinese, French, Greek, Haitian, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese. During disasters, FEMA establishes contact with LEP populations and multilingual media in order to ensure that diverse audiences receive critical, accessible, understandable, and simultaneous disaster assistance communications.
The Guide is available at go.usa.gov/362Q9.
FEMA Provides In-Language Disaster Assistance:
FEMA has an established a call line that provides disaster survivors direct access to disaster assistance information in more than 50 languages. This line has been promoted through community outreach, engagement with state and local government officials, flyer distribution, news releases and media interviews.
CRCL and FEMA Disseminate Tips For Effectively Communicating With Protected Populations During Response And Recovery:
The Tips Guide is provided to state, localities, and other recipients to remind them of their obligations to carry out their disaster related activities in a nondiscriminatory manner and provides specific tips regarding effective communication to assist jurisdictions in ensuring meaningful access to LEP persons.
The Guide is available at go.usa.gov/362Uw.