Rep. Sylvia Garcia Leads Letter to Gov. Abbott and Texas Social Work Board Asking for Reversal of New Discriminatory Rule

October 20, 2020
Press Release
Media Contact: Robert Julien (DC): Email:; Cell: 202-227-0330

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), along with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32), Congressman Al Green (TX-08), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) sent a letter to Governor Abbott, the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, and the Texas State Board of Social Work Board of Examiners requesting a reversal of a recent rule change.

On Monday, October 12, 2020, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners approved a rule, suggested by Governor Abbott, which would remove protections for LGBTQIA individuals and people with disabilities under the social worker's code of conduct. Under the new board-approved rule, social workers could now deny a variety of services to individuals who identify as LGBTQIA and/or have a disability.

The letter from Congresswoman Garcia and her colleagues read, “As members of the Texas Congressional delegation, we find this recent removal of non-discrimination protections terribly misguided and ask for your reconsideration and reversal of this rule immediately.”

The letter also reads, “During this pandemic, social workers have taken on an even larger role in protecting their communities by providing emergency resources, housing and employment services, mental health care, and medical casework to name a few. . . For these reasons, we request your reconsideration and reversal of this outrageous rule during the next scheduled board meeting on October 27, 2020.”

Statement from Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia:

“As a former social worker, I am appalled by this recent removal of non-discrimination protections. Nobody, especially in the middle of a life-threatening, unprecedented pandemic, should be denied services, just for being who they are.”

“I am also appalled that this rule change was rushed through the board meeting, without input from professional social workers. I hope the Governor and the Board recognize the terrible repercussions this will have on the safety and well-being of some Texans in the state if they are not able to access much-needed services. My colleagues in Congress and I will continue to monitor this issue closely.”

A copy of the full letter can be found here.


Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018, becoming the first Latina ever to represent the Texas 29th Congressional District. She serves on the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees.