Following reports that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson is considering removing the words “free from discrimination” from the mission statement of HUD, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) led colleagues in calling for the words “free from discrimination” to remain in the agency’s mission statement and for HUD to commit to expand its work to eliminate housing discrimination.

The lawmakers released a joint statement:

“We are writing to express our deep concern that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering changing its mission statement from one that promotes inclusion and discrimination-free communities to one that does not strive to offer the same protections.

“These changes to the HUD mission statement would erase decades worth of progress and bring back an era in which people were denied housing based on the color of their skin. We ask that HUD refrain from making any changes to its mission statement. We additionally ask that you ensure that HUD will continue to build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and help hard working families pursue their American dream of safe, affordable and inclusive housing.”

In addition to Harris, the letter was signed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-2), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Barabara Lee (CA-13) and Mike Thompson (CA-5).