STATEMENT: CAP Applauds House Homeland Security Committee Plan to Advance Legislation to Strengthen Civil Rights Protections at DHS

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress welcomes the leadership of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee to advance legislation that would strengthen the ability of the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to achieve its important mandate of protecting individual liberties and equal treatment under the law. The legislation as introduced incorporates a number of key recommendations made in a CAP report published in April, titled “Building Meaningful Civil Rights and Liberties Oversight at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Ahead on the vote to be held tomorrow, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at CAP, said the following:

For years, the CRCL has been hampered in its ability to serve its core mission by a lack of authority, independence, and transparency. These structural weaknesses help to explain why the CRCL, when faced with an administration that is taking a sledgehammer to civil rights and civil liberties at every turn, was entirely helpless to prevent some of the worst atrocities of this administration, including family separation. The necessary reforms in this legislation will ensure that the CRCL has a seat at the table, direct and independent reporting channels to Congress, and greater authority to investigate complaints and make meaningful recommendations. Building meaningful civil rights and civil liberties oversight at DHS help to move us closer to an immigration system that better reflects our rule of law values.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at or 202-481-8145.