Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has adopted a rule that would allow financial institutions, insurance companies, and housing providers to engage in covert discriminatory practices by dramatically weakening disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act.

For more than 45 years, “disparate impact” has been a crucial legal tool to fight discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity. This protection means that companies and individuals covered under the Fair Housing Act must choose policies that apply fairly to all people. Some policies that seem neutral in theory can unfairly exclude certain groups of people or segregate particular communities in practice. This protection allows us to identify and prevent harmful, inequitable, and unjustified policies, thereby ensuring that everyone can be treated fairly.

If the Trump administration rule is allowed to stand, a landlord could evict victims of domestic violence based on common leases that hold all tenants, even victims, responsible for crimes in their homes. A bank could charge excessive fees or rates to certain groups seeking home mortgage loans, creating high barriers to homeownership for people of color or people with disabilities. An apartment building could impose occupancy restrictions forcing families with children to rent more expensive apartments.

Attacks on the civil rights of communities of color, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, the faith community, and families with children have been an underlying theme of many Trump administration policies. This attack is no different. The devastating effect of this rule would extend well beyond housing, jeopardizing civil rights protections in education, employment, healthcare, the environment, transportation, and the criminal justice system. We must not allow this rule to stand.