A new wave of “tough on crime” policy is taking shape in the U.S., driven by a presidential administration that tirelessly stirs fears of internal and external threats. The full consequences of this new crackdown will not be known for some time. But decades of research on the effects of aggressive law enforcement provide a strong basis for understanding the challenges that lie ahead. In political rhetoric, the law-breaking individual takes center stage. Calls for stiffer penalties focus on actions within the criminal justice system. In reality, however, the fallout from get-tough law enforcement spirals outward, reaching into all corners of targeted individuals’ lives and creating devastating collateral consequences for the people who surround them. In the case of undocumented immigrant victims of gender-based violence, aggressive law enforcement can counteract vital protections and supports.
On June 8, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act. If signed into law, this Act will roll back numerous regulations set in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. News reporting about this Act has centered on the government’s role in Wall Street bail-outs and the risks and benefits of regulating how financial advisors invest consumers’ money. Analysis of its gendered and racialized impacts by contrast have been markedly absent. Beyond eliminating regulations for financial institutions, the Financial Choice Act also threatens to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent government agency that investigates exploitative financial practices on the behalf of U.S. consumers. If signed into law, the Financial Choice Act would dramatically reduce the resources individuals have to challenge incorrect, outdated or damaging information about them in their credit reports, a change that holds significant consequences for people of color and transgender individuals.
Prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare or ACA), in states without protections for nursing mothers, many women were forced to nurse or express breastmilk in bathroom stalls—if they were even given adequate break time. Women without break time and/or access to a private space often stopped breastfeeding upon return to work. Even with the ACA in place, some women lose their jobs for trying to work and pump (numerous stories demonstrate these and other challenges). Now, as Congress and the White House again debate healthcare, mothers working in the formal economy have reason to worry.
The first 100 days of the Trump Administration were filled with curious incidents and whiplash-inducing statements and retractions regarding education. As the school year winds down, there is still uncertainty—as well as evidence that many programs and supports for students are under threat.
Our first offerings on this page raised concerns about school discipline policy, Title IX enforcement, and the influence of conservative groups on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s approach to curriculum and school choice. Since then, evidence has mounted that the Trump Administration will not become more “moderate” on policies that disproportionately impact gender, ability, and racial equity in education, from kindergarten to graduate school.
With the House of Representatives’ recent passage of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), we have begun to see the influence of Republican-controlled government on the U.S. healthcare system. Even though the bill is not yet law, those who identify as transgender or whose gender identity does not align with their assigned sex are already seeing vital healthcare protections dropped as the political environment shifts. Still, in this time of fear and uncertainty, there are a few examples of institutions increasing access for transgender folks to receive the healthcare they need.
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