Department Outlines Steps to Advance Equity in its Policies, Programs, and Operations
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of its first-ever DHS Equity Action Plan, which identifies seven focus areas to comprehensively advance equity across the Department’s policies, programs, and operations. This Plan includes a commitment to ensure the Department’s civil rights offices have the resources they need to carry out their critical missions.
“The Department of Homeland Security interacts with the public on a daily basis more than any other federal agency. Since January 2021, DHS has taken several meaningful steps to ensure we are equitably serving the public and every community across the country,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The DHS Equity Action Plan builds on our Department’s progress in better integrating equity into the full range of DHS activities and reinforces our commitment to continuing this critical work.”
The DHS Equity Action Plan’s focus areas have the greatest potential for advancing equity across the Department’s activities. These focus areas, whose selection was informed by feedback from external stakeholders representing underserved communities, include:
- Applying for naturalization: DHS will conduct a comprehensive review of policies, regulations, forms, and operations to identify barriers that may impede access to naturalization among underserved communities and make recommendations on how to appropriately and lawfully remove these barriers.
- Accessing humanitarian protection during immigration processing: DHS will improve access to humanitarian protection during immigration processing by addressing language and disability access gaps and enhancing access to relevant information and resources.
- Bidding on DHS contracts: DHS will expand engagement with small businesses owned by or supporting members of underserved communities to ensure more equitable access to DHS contracting opportunities.
- Countering all forms of terrorism and targeted violence: Diverse communities are disproportionality impacted by domestic violent extremism and targeted violence. DHS will further expand its efforts to provide underserved communities with the tools and resources they need to prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence and increase local capabilities to combat all forms of terrorism and targeted violence.
- Filing complaints and seeking redress in DHS programs and activities: DHS will enhance its communication with the public regarding the right to file complaints and seek redress without retaliation regarding DHS programs and how those processes work.
- Airport screening: DHS will enhance and standardize employee training and improve screening-technology capabilities to advance equity for members of underserved communities.
- Accessing Trusted Traveler Programs: DHS will expand gender-identification options for certain trusted traveler programs, including TSA PreCheck®, and enhance access to these programs for individuals with limited English proficiency.
DHS released its Equity Action Plan pursuant to Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The Executive Order called on federal agencies to review their programs and policies and assess whether members of underserved communities face systemic barriers in accessing benefits and opportunities.
Read the DHS Equity Action Plan here.