ACLU calls for dissolving of Department of Homeland Security
The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday called for the dissolution of the Department of Homeland Security, calling it a “fail[ed] experiment” that has become a “badge of shame” under President Trump.
“Nearly 20 years of abuse, waste, and corruption demonstrate the failure of the DHS experiment. Many knew DHS to be an ineffective superagency, but President Trump has converted DHS into our government’s most notable badge of shame,” the organization said in a series of tweets Monday.
“Dismantling DHS, breaking it apart into various federal agencies, and shrinking its federal budget will allow for more effective oversight, accountability and public transparency,” it added.
Dismantling DHS, breaking it apart into various federal agencies, and shrinking its federal budget will allow for more effective oversight, accountability and public transparency. https://t.co/OCEhylML0t
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 10, 2020
The organization linked to a USA Today op-ed by executive director Anthony Romero that specifically cites the “unlawful and shocking” deployment of DHS personnel to Portland, Ore.
In the op-ed, Romero noted several former DHS and national security officials who have expressed dismay at the recent trajectory of the department.
Former Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff have both criticized the Portland deployment, while former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke has called for DHS to be dismantled.
In addition, Romero wrote that DHS is an “ineffective superagency” made up of 22 different agencies with contradictory mandates.
“Dismantling DHS, breaking it apart into various federal agencies, and shrinking its allocation of federal dollars will allow for more effective oversight, accountability and public transparency,” he wrote.
DHS was set up by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The idea at the time was to increase the importance of homeland security by unifying various parts of the government under one umbrella.
But criticism of DHS has increased over the years, and particularly over the last few months amid reports of federal police in unmarked vans detaining people in Portland.
“The spun-off agencies will have clearer missions and more limited functions,” Romero wrote. “A behemoth of a federal agency too easily hides its problems and failings. Congressional oversight can be more readily divided among various congressional committees. Smaller agencies with clearer mandates will make the Cabinet-level jobs more attractive to top-notch professionals.”
The ACLU in July sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service over the Portland deployment. Plaintiffs in the case include the Portland Mercury as well as several journalists and legal observers who claim agents assaulted them.