The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL)'s Compliance Branch investigates and resolves civil right and civil liberties complaints filed by the public regarding Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies and activities. Under 6 U.S.C. § 345 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000ee-1, CRCL reviews and assesses information concerning abuses of civil rights, civil liberties, and profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion, by DHS employees. We use the same process for human rights complaints, under Executive Order 13107.
Complaints may be initiated by members of the public, federal agencies or agency personnel, non-governmental organizations, media reports and other sources. Complaints can be submitted via mail, e-mail, fax, or telephone. Once a complaint is opened, Compliance staff assess the claim and determine whether to refer the complaint to the appropriate Component for fact-investigating or to retain the complaint for investigation by CRCL (unless the DHS Office of the Inspector General decides to investigate the allegations). If referred, the Component is required to report its findings to CRCL. Upon review of those findings, CRCL works with the Component to resolve the complaint. If retained, Compliance staff conducts the investigation to determine if the factual allegations in the complaint can be verified. Whether fact investigation is conducted by CRCL or a Component, CRCL may the information to recommend steps to be taken by the Component to address issues of concern.
- File a Civil Rights Complaint
CRCL reviews and assesses complaints in areas such as: treatment; abuse of authority/color of law; conditions of detention; discrimination; and due process. The complaint form is available in English and multiple alternate languages.
- 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.
- Data on Complaints Received
Department-wide complaints data for each Component.