Civil Rights and Civil Liberties FAQs
Civil rights and civil liberties are the rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, Federal statutes, and regulations, including freedom from discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information, freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, due process of law, appropriate conditions of confinement, and protection from excessive force, unreasonable searches and seizures, and unlawful intrusions into personal privacy.
The invidious use of race or ethnicity as a criterion in conducting stops, searches, inspections, and other law enforcement activities based on the erroneous assumption that a person of one race or ethnicity is more likely to commit a crime than a person of another race or ethnicity.
Where may members of the public file a complaint involving alleged civil rights and civil liberties abuses?
The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) reviews and investigates civil rights and civil liberties complaints filed by the public regarding DHS policies and activities. CRCL reviews and assesses allegations involving a range of alleged civil rights and civil liberties abuses, such as:
- Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability;
- Violation of rights while in immigration detention or as a subject of immigration enforcement;
- Discrimination or inappropriate questioning related to entry into the United States;
- Violation of due process rights, such as the right to timely notice of charges or access to a lawyer;
- Violation of confidentiality provisions of the Violence Against Women Act;
- Physical abuse or any other type of abuse;
- Denial of meaningful access to DHS or DHS-supported programs, activities, or services due to limited English proficiency; and
- Any other civil rights, civil liberties, or human rights violation related to a Department program or activity, including allegations of discrimination by an organization or program that receives financial assistance from DHS.
Persons who wish to file a civil rights or civil liberties complaint with CBP may do so by:
- Submitting a Civil Rights Complaint at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/crcl-complaint-submission-form-english.pdf.
- Sending an e-mail message to CRCL@dhs.gov;
- Faxing to (202) 401-4708; or
- Writing to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Compliance Branch, 245 Murray Lane, SW, Building 410, Mail Stop #0190, Washington, DC 20528.