Top Congressional Democrats are sending mixed messages when it comes to affirmative action — oddly siding against Asian-Americans. On August 18th, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Conyers (D-MI) sent a joint letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos accusing their respective departments of promoting policies that “undermine civil right protections.”
“We have serious outstanding concerns about the Trump Administration’s intention regarding policies to promote racial diversity in university admissions and the scope of work your agencies may be undertaking on this issue,” the letter read.
Democratic lawmakers are attacking Trump’s Education and Justice Departments for addressing a complaint that the Obama administration never responded to previously. The Democrats’ letter referenced an internal hiring post made by the DOJ in early August. That post sought volunteers to review a complaint of race-based discrimination in universities’ admission procedures.
The internal memo was leaked, and the New York Times reported that President Trump was creating a team dedicated to suing universities over affirmative action admission policies that discriminated against white people. But the NYT’s reporting was inaccurate. The case that the DOJ posting was referencing to was a complaint filed by the Asian American Coalition for Education. The AACE and 64 other Asian American organizations sent a 50-page complaint against Harvard University to the DOJ and DOE on May 15, 2015. The Department of Education dismissed the complaint in 2015 because Harvard University had a similar lawsuit already pending. But the DOJ, under Obama’s leadership, never addressed the case.
Now, Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of threatening diversity on campuses and college students’ protections under the Civil Rights Act.
“Any effort to limit universities’ ability to take students’ backgrounds, including their race, into account during the admissions process is an abrupt and extremely troubling shift in policy for both Departments,” the letter said.
The DOJ told Red Alert Politics in early August that it is a longstanding policy for the Department to investigate any and all credible allegations of discrimination based on race.
Nowhere in the letter did the Democrats address that the Obama Administration failed to act on this complaint for two years. Instead, the lawmakers called the DOJ’s investigation “suspect,” and criticized the department for not addressing the “growing racial tensions” on college campuses instead.
“This action is especially suspect given this Administration’s lack of attention to civil rights issues in our education system thus far,” the lawmakers said. “For example, neither DOJ nor ED have publically addressed the spate of racially charged incidents on college campuses nor the rise in white supremacist recruiting efforts and incidents on college campuses which the Anti-Defamation League describes as unprecedented.”
Affirmative action mandates that universities provide equal access to education for minority groups and has nearly tripled the number of minority applications to colleges or universities. Democrats have been outspoken supporters of the order until now when a minority group vocalizes a concern with its structure.
“The AACE strongly condemns this politically motivated and ugly act, which was orchestrated by Senator Feinstein and others and so perfectly illustrates their ignorance of relevant laws, underlying facts and disregard of the Constitution of the United States of America,” the AACE stated in their response to the Democrats’ letter.
The Democratic lawmakers did not acknowledge the Asian-American group’s concerns in their four-page letter.
DOJ Spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam told Red Alert Politics, “As a matter of policy, the Department of Justice does not confirm, or otherwise comment, on the existence or nonexistence of investigations. I can confirm that the letter has been received and is being reviewed. However, the Department of Justice declines further comment.”