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Homeland Security

File a Civil Rights Complaint

About the Complaints Process

Under 6 U.S.C. § 345 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000ee-1, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) reviews and assesses information concerning abuses of civil rights, civil liberties, and profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion, by  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees and officials.

In 2011, CRCL undertook a review of its complaints process and made many improvements. Review a flowchart (PDF, 1 page - 77 KB) of our process.

CRCL reviews and assesses complaints such as:

  • Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, or disability
  • Violation of rights while in immigration detention or as a subject of immigration enforcement
  • Discrimination or inappropriate questioning related to entry into the United States
  • Violation of right to due process, such as right to timely notice of charges or access to lawyer
  • Violation of the Violence Against Women Act's confidentiality requirements
  • Physical abuse or any other type of abuse
  • Any other civil rights, civil liberties, or human rights violation related to a Department program or activity

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File a Complaint

If you wish to file a complaint with CRCL, please download this fillable complaint form (PDF, 7 pages - 212 KB) and e-mail, fax, or mail the completed form back to CRCL; or provide a detailed written description of the pertinent events. (Please note that e-mailing the completed form to CRCLCompliance@hq.dhs.gov is the fastest way to reach CRCL.)

  • Contact information. Full name; date of birth; alien registration number,if applicable; phone number; mailing address; and e-mail address, if available.
  • A written description of the specific circumstances. This should include date, time and location; name(s) and contact information of any witness(es); and name(s), job title, and agency or component of the individual(s) alleged to have committed the violation, if available. Please be as specific as possible in describing the circumstances surrounding your complaint.
  • Relevant documents. Copies of any paperwork related to the complaint or its circumstances.
  • A summary of other steps taken, if any, to resolve this complaint. For example, steps could include communications with a Department component agency regarding your complaint, or letters written to the DHS Office of Inspector General.
  • Complaints filed on behalf of a third party. If you are writing on behalf of someone else and wish to receive information which relates to them or their complaint, you must provide express written consent from that individual authorizing the Department to share information with you about the complaint. You must also provide your name, organization (if any), and contact information.

Complaints are accepted in languages other than English, including (but not limited to):

DHS will use the information provided in your complaint to review alleged civil rights and civil liberties violations. This information may be disclosed to and used by those personnel and contractors within DHS who have a need to know the information in order to review your complaint. When necessary to address your complaint, CRCL may also share your information with appropriate government agencies outside of DHS or with non-government entitites. Read a complete list of CRCL's routine uses.

Furnishing information to CRCL is voluntary, but CRCL may not be able to adequately review your complaint without the information requested. If necessary, CRCL may request additional information from you in order to determine the appropriate manner to address your concerns.

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DHS Complaint Avenues Guidance 

The Department has many avenues for the public to make complaints involving DHS employees or programs, alleged violations of civil rights and civil liberties, immigration filing, travel redress, and other types of grievances. This guide brings together information about these avenues.
 

Submit Your Complaint

You can contact CRCL to file your complaint in a number of different ways.

  • E-mailCRCLCompliance@hq.dhs.gov (the fastest method to submit your complaint)
  • Fax: 202-401-4708
  • U.S. Postal Mail: (this method can take up to 20 business days)
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
    Compliance Branch
  • 245 Murray Lane, SW
    Building 410, Mail Stop #0190
    Washington, D.C. 20528
  • Package/Overnight Delivery: Please contact CRCL for information on sending a package.

If you have questions, you may also contact CRCL by telephone:

  • Local: 202-401-1474
  • Toll Free: 1-866-644-8360
  • Local TTY: 202-401-0470
  • Toll Free TTY: 1-866-644-8361

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Last Published Date: September 23, 2013
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