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  4. File a Civil Rights Complaint

File a Civil Rights Complaint

The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) reviews and investigates civil rights and civil liberties complaints filed by the public regarding U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies and activities.

NOTICE: CRCL is experiencing a high volume of calls

Under 6 U.S.C. § 345 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000ee-1, CRCL reviews and assesses allegations involving a range of alleged civil rights and civil liberties abuses, such as:

  • Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, 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 due process rights, such as the right to timely notice of charges or access to lawyer;
  • Violation of confidentiality provisions of the Violence Against Women Act;
  • Physical abuse or any other type of abuse;
  • Denial of meaningful access to DHS or DHS-supported programs, activities, or services due to limited English proficiency; and
  • Any other civil rights, civil liberties, or human rights violation related to a Department program or activity, including allegations of discrimination by an organization or program that receives financial assistance from DHS.

CRCL also reviews and investigates human rights complaints under Executive Order 13107 and disability accommodation complaints under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Read our Privacy Act Statement and review a flowchart of our complaints process.

If you wish to file a complaint with CRCL, please download the fillable complaint form and e-mail, fax, or mail the completed form back to CRCL; if you wish to file a complaint with CRCL without using the optional complaint form, please provide a detailed written description of the pertinent events via email, fax, phone, or postal mail. (Please note that e-mailing your correspondence to CRCLCompliance@HQ.DHS.GOV is the fastest way to reach CRCL, but is not required.) Regardless of how you contact CRCL, please include:

  • 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 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 a civil rights or civil liberties 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 try to resolve this complaint. For example, steps could include communications with a Department component agency regarding your complaint, or correspondence 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 all languages, including (but not limited to):

DHS will use the information provided in your complaint to review alleged civil rights and civil liberties violations. In order to review your complaint, this information may be disclosed to and used by those personnel and contractors within DHS who have a need to know the information. When necessary, CRCL may also share your information with appropriate government agencies outside of DHS or with non-government entities. 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.

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 showing where in DHS the public may submit complaints.

You may file your complaint in a number of ways:

  • E-mail: CRCLCompliance@hq.dhs.gov (the fastest method to submit your complaint)
  • Fax: 202-401-4708
  • Package/Overnight Delivery: Please contact CRCL for information on sending a package.
  • 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, Mail Stop # 0190
2707 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
Washington, DC 20528-0190

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

Last Updated: 05/02/2022
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