Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D-Mississippi), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, along with Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), have introduced the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Homeland Security Partnerships Act. If enacted into law, this new legislation will strengthen the partnership between HBCUs and the Department of Homeland Security.
In 2017, President Trump established an initiative to provide equitable opportunities for HBCUs to participate in federal programs. However, the partnerships between the Department of Homeland Security and HBCUs have fallen short of the department’s stated priorities. The new act would require DHS to issue a goal-based strategy to achieve stronger partnerships with HBCUs and then monitor and report on that strategy. The goal is to increase contracting, research, and career opportunities for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.
“For nearly two centuries, HBCUs have provided African Americans the opportunity to compete on a level playing field – and their alumni have contributed immeasurably to the American culture, economy, and government,” Chairman Thompson said. “Since its inception, DHS has realized the value in working with HBCUs – but the partnership is not as robust as it should be. Unfortunately, opportunities for minority students are often subpar. There is a wealth of knowledge and talent at HBCUs and it would undoubtedly be in our interest to ensure this knowledge and talent is utilized in defending the homeland.”