The Trump administration is not just changing the civil liberties landscape in well publicized ways such as the Muslim ban and efforts to deport so-called bad hombres.
Ed Yohnka of the ACLU of Illinois said his organization is also noticing reversals of long-term policies by the Justice Department that send a quiet signal that people who were getting protections no longer will.
"We have seen the department recently reverse the Obama administration position and argue in federal court that an employer ought to be able to fire someone simply because they are gay or lesbian," said Yohnka.
Yohnka spoke during GLT's Sound Ideas saying Trump's Justice Department has also reversed the Obama Justice Department position challenging the implementation of voter ID laws.
"These laws have been found frankly to be discriminatory in their application and frankly don't really root out any kind of voter fraud. The department has reversed positions and said they actually favor the implementation of voter ID laws," said Yohnka, who also spoke Wednesday night at the Normal Public Library. That appearance was sponsored by the McLean County League of Women Voters and the ACLU of Central Illinois.
Yohnka said supervision of police departments such as Chicago's is also an issue.
"The Department of Justice has completely reversed its policies in terms of overseeing and seeking to reform state and local police agencies, said Yohnka.
He says, for instance, an Obama administration report critical of the Chicago Police Department has been effectively withdrawn. Yohnka said such a report would normally lead to reforms and oversight. Now, he said, it has forced the ACLU to sue the City of Chicago.
Yohnka said the remedy for those who care about such issues is to ask congressional representatives at every opportunity, what are you doing to protect these liberties.
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