Justice Department Resolves Fair Housing Act Lawsuit Against Guam’s Government for Racial and National Origin Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Justice announced today an agreement with the Government of Guam, as well as the Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) and its Administrative Director, to resolve claims that Guam’s Chamorro Land Trust Act (CLTA) discriminated against non-Chamorros on the basis of race and national origin in the allocation of Government of Guam land. 

The department’s lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleged that the CLTC, which is part of the Government of Guam and controls approximately 15 percent of Guam’s total land area, violated the Fair Housing Act through its program of granting 99-year residential leases for one-acre tracts, at a cost of one dollar per year, solely to “native Chamorros.”  

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Guam has agreed to stop taking race and national origin into account in awarding the land leases. The CLTA will be amended to award leases based on whether individuals lost land or use of land, including during World War II and its aftermath, instead of whether an applicant is a “native Chamorro.” The CLTC will also be required to collect information to verify eligibility based on the new, race-neutral criteria. Finally, the agreement prohibits future housing-related discrimination, mandates training on the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, and requires record keeping and reporting so that the Justice Department can ensure compliance with the settlement agreement.

“The Department of Justice is committed to fighting race and national origin discrimination through vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “This settlement will ensure that Guam does not discriminate on the basis of race or national origin against non-Chamorros in the administration of its land lease program.”

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the civil rights laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination may call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777 or through its website at www.hud.gov.

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Author: June 4, 2020

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