The White House released its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget this week, and while many consider the proposal dead-on-arrival, the ins and outs show us what the administration is prioritizing this coming year. So what’s in? Debt, plenty of debt, along with fossil fuels, defense, and border enforcement. What’s out? A lot, with most of the cuts reducing federal assistance to low income families. While there is no shortage of things to talk about in this budget, we are going to focus on a cut to the Justice Department with significant implications for civil rights. Under the FY ’19 budget proposal, the Community Relations Service (CRS) would be eliminated and transferred to the Civil Rights Division, which centers on criminal matters. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to assist communities facing issues of discrimination and other bias-related tensions, the CRS is effective because it is neither an investigative nor prosecutorial component of the Justice Department, which facilitates constructive relationships between CRS officers and community members. As the “peacemaker” agency of the DOJ, the elimination of the CRS would present yet another setback to civil rights enforcement, and that is something we simply cannot accept. Let’s add it to the growing pile of unacceptables.

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