Safeguarding Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Safeguarding civil rights and civil liberties is critical to DHS’ work to protect the nation from the many threats we face. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) supports the Department's mission to secure the nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law.
DHS integrates civil rights and civil liberties into all agency activities by:
- Promoting respect for civil rights and civil liberties in policy creation and implementation;
- Communicating with individuals and communities whose civil rights and civil liberties may be affected by Department activities, and informing them of policies and avenues of redress;
- Investigating and resolving civil rights and civil liberties complaints filed by the public regarding Department policies or activities; and
- Leading the Department’s equal employment opportunity programs and promoting workforce diversity
Advancing Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at DHS
DHS has achieved results for civil rights and civil liberties by:
- Providing advice and support for incorporation of civil rights and civil liberties protections into the Department’s immigration-related activities and policies
- Ensuring that the Department complies with Constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and other requirements relating to civil rights and civil liberties. CRCL does this by assessing the impact of DHS policies and activities, training DHS personnel, and engaging with diverse communities
- Leading the Department’s efforts to implement proactive and effective programs for equal employment opportunity and diversity
- Providing policy advice and training throughout the Department
- Training has been delivered to Privacy Officials at 68 of the 77 fusion centers and continued technical assistance support to these officials as they perform their roles at the fusion centers is ongoing. More than 1,000 fusion center staff and liaison officers have been trained since 2009.
- Strong privacy and civil rights and civil liberties standards have been incorporated into agency cyber security programs and initiatives. Specific training on the protection of privacy and civil liberties as they relate to computer network security activities is provided to DHS personnel.
Transparency and Reform
- The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties completed an overhaul of its civil rights investigations processes
- creating a new complaint database system
- developing an easy-to-use online complaint submission form
- increasing access to comprehensive language services
- increasing transparency for complainants, and
- improving coordination with components to track response to and implementation of recommendation