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Chairman Thompson Statement on DHS Creating New Law Enforcement Oversight Body

September 29, 2021

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcing the formation of a Department-wide law enforcement coordination body, the Law Enforcement Coordination Council (LECC), in the wake of calls by the Chairman and others for reforms to ensure that law enforcement activities are more fair, equitable, and accountable.  In July, Chairman Thompson and Committee Democrats introduced the DHS Reform Act of 2021 (H.R.4357) that includes a wide range of law enforcement reforms within the Department, especially related to use of force, de-escalation, training, and accountability.

“The Department’s law enforcement policies and training are in dire need of review and reform.  We were alarmed to see the mistreatment of Haitian migrants by a few Border Patrol agents in Del Rio. The challenges DHS faces with respect to ensuring fair, equitable, and impartial policing are complex and, coming off four years under a president who often outwardly embraced abuses in policing, must be given timely and dedicated attention.

“That is why I – and many others – have been pushing for the Department to do better and have also reintroduced legislation that would protect civil rights and civil liberties and require DHS to prioritize de-escalation and body-worn cameras, update its use-of-force policy, and improve training.

“I applaud Secretary Mayorkas  for taking the first steps towards reforming policing by creating this new council and establishing two subcommittees to tackle areas that we have expressed need immediate attention.  Still, we need to be sure today’s action leads to real change, and for that to happen, there needs to be new, confirmed leadership at the highest ranks of the law enforcement components within DHS—most especially within CBP and ICE.” 

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