DHS is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all our employees. Diversity makes us better as a Department, and the contributions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) employees strengthen DHS in many different ways every day. As we mark the 10th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security, we are taking the opportunity to consider just how much has changed in that time.
I’m proud of the progress this Department has made to advance LGBT equality. In the past year alone, with the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, DHS extended additional benefits to same-sex domestic partners of U.S. Coast Guard service members and, where applicable, to the children of same-sex domestic partners. Last October, as part of our use of prosecutorial discretion to close removal cases that are outside our priority areas, we included same-sex couples when considering family relationship as one of the factors relevant to the assessment of a person’s ties and contributions to the community.
We have also incorporated LGBT awareness training into basic courses at our Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and we have created the first DHS Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan to help us promote a diverse workforce and foster an inclusive workplace for all DHS employees.
The work we’ve done over the past decade provides a strong foundation to address the inevitable challenges we will face, and an ever-changing threat landscape. Working as One DHS means we benefit from the talents and experiences that all of our people bring with them. This is about more than just integrating different components and offices. It is about bringing together our workforce and building an open, inclusive culture. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is essential to executing our missions.