Taking Liberties At Homeland Security

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Regarding the Aug. 20 front-page article "Citizens' U.S. Border Crossings Tracked":

The broad authority given to the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the comings and goings of U.S. citizens is evidence of the Bush administration's ongoing exploitation of the threat of terrorism to encroach on constitutional rights. There is legitimate outrage over such policies, but there should be equal outrage about other DHS policies that violate civil liberties and human rights in the name of national security.

Immigrants, including citizens and legal residents, are bearing the brunt of unnecessarily harsh DHS practices. DHS conducts warrantless, aggressive raids on homes and workplaces, locking up people without giving them an opportunity to make a phone call or see a lawyer. The inhumane conditions at DHS detention facilities, where people are sometimes denied access even to lifesaving medical care, have resulted in more than 70 deaths in the past few years. In this November's elections, DHS policies will result in the disenfranchisement of at least 300,000 people whose citizenship applications have been long delayed by extra security checks based on their race or religion, not any evidence of criminal activity.

It is time to hold DHS accountable for abusive policies that affect citizens and immigrants alike.

MARGARET HUANG

Executive Director

Rights Working Group

Washington


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