July 28, 2020

A Window to Rein in DHS

Congressional appropriators should not let this window close

By Carrie Cordero and Elizabeth Goitein

This week, congressional appropriators may attach a homeland security spending bill to a broader funding package. If that goes forward, it could let slip the best opportunity before January 2021 for Congress to exercise oversight authority over a Department of Homeland Security veering out of control.

Oversight and accountability of this massive department have lagged far behind.

Even before DHS deployed its military-styled law enforcement personnel into the streets of Portland, Oregon, more robust congressional oversight of the department was long overdue. In the 18 years since its creation, DHS has ballooned: It operates with a $50 billion budget and has a workforce of more than 240,000 employees. It is also the country’s largest law enforcement agency, with over 60,000 law enforcement officers. And its activities have grown in parallel, so that they are now substantially out of sync with its statutory mandate. For instance, Homeland Security Investigations, a component of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), claims the authority to investigate literally any federal crime.

Read the full article from Just Security.

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