DHS Releases 2023 Update to Equity Action Plan, Outlines New Commitments

DHS Releases 2023 Update to Equity Action Plan, Outlines New Commitments

USA - USA DAILY NEWS 24 originally published at USA - USA DAILY NEWS 24

DHS Releases 2023 Update to Equity Action Plan, Outlines New Commitments

Release Date: February 14, 2024

Department Strengthens Commitment to Advancing Equity in its Policies, Programs, and Operations

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of the 2023 Update to the DHS Equity Action Plan, which builds on the progress made in the 2022 inaugural plan to further embed equity at the center of the Department’s mission. The 2023 Update highlights DHS’s accomplishments over the past three years and identifies nine focus areas to comprehensively advance equity across the Department’s policies, programs, and operations.

DHS selected the nine focus areas in the 2023 Update based on feedback from external stakeholders representing underserved communities. These nine areas include the following strategies and initiatives:

  1. Advance equity through the planned updates to the FEMA Individual Assistance Program, which will create opportunities for underserved communities by increasing accessibility and eligibility for post-disaster support.

  2. Reduce barriers to citizenship and naturalization through continued evaluation of programs, policies, and outreach opportunities.

  3. Promote equitable use of AI technology across the Department through the development and application of new guidance as well as intra-agency coordination.

  4. Counter Domestic Violent Extremism and targeted violence through a public health-informed approach.

  5. Advance equity for persons who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) by strengthening language access programs.

  6. Advance equity in DHS’s screening activities at airport checkpoints and ports of entry through updates to training and enhanced technologies.

  7. Advance equity for the 574 federally recognized Tribal Nations and their citizens by ensuring appropriate Tribal consideration and representation in the Department’s work.

  8. Advance equity for persons seeking humanitarian protection during immigration processing by strengthening programs available to assist them.

  9. Advance equity through Community Disaster Resilience Zones.

The 2023 Update also notes the following accomplishments, among many others:

  • Exceeded all small business prime and socioeconomic goals as negotiated with the Small Business Administration in FY 2023. This equates to $9.94 billion awarded to small businesses, including $4.69 billion to small disadvantaged businesses. DHS is the largest spending agency to have achieved this goal.

  • Deployed TSA’s new software to over 1,000 Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening systems at airports across the country: Updates to the software algorithm eliminate the need for security officers to determine a passenger’s gender prior to AIT screening, enhance accuracy, and significantly reduce false alarms and pat downs for all passengers. It is projected to reduce instances of enhanced screening for members of underserved communities.

  • Updated medical certification for disability exceptions and related policy guidance: Applicants for naturalization with a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment may request an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization. This form and policy update streamlines the process for applicants to claim and substantiate a disability by eliminating unnecessary and duplicative questions.

DHS released the 2023 Update to the DHS Equity Action Plan pursuant to Executive Order 14091, Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The Executive Order called on federal agencies to strengthen their efforts to deliver more equitable outcomes for members of underserved communities.

Read more about advancing equity at DHS.

Last Updated: 02/15/2024
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Originally published at https://www.dhs.gov/news/2024/02/14/dhs-releases-2023-update-equity-action-plan-outlines-new-commitments

USA - USA DAILY NEWS 24 originally published at USA - USA DAILY NEWS 24