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FILE - In this May 14, 2013, file photo, the Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington is photographed early in the morning. The Drug Enforcement Administration does a poor job overseeing the millions of dollars in payments it distributes to confidential sources, relies on tipsters who operate with minimal oversight or direction and has paid informants who are no longer meant to be used, according to a government watchdog report issued Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. . (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

The Justice Department will investigate affirmative action in college admissions


The Justice Department, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will now receive redirected resources in order to investigate affirmative action college admission policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by the New York Times.

In the internal announcement to the civil rights division, lawyers are sought for work on a new project on "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions." The announcement suggests that the project will by carried out by the division office where Trump political appointees work as opposed to its Educational Opportunity Section, which is led by career civil servants who typically handle the work involving schools and universities.

The document doesn't explicitly state whom the Justice Department considers at risk of discrimination because of affirmative action policies, but the language used -- "intentional race-based discrimination" -- suggests the project hopes to reevaluate programs aimed at recruiting diverse students, including minorities, to universities.

Controversy surrounding affirmative action isn't anything new. Supporters say that such programs provide opportunity to vulnerable, disadvantaged groups, such as black and Latino students. Critics, however, say that such policies hurt other students, who may not be considered minorities, but have comparable or higher test scores.

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