On Nov. 19, the U.S. Senate voted 90-9 to create a homeland security department that will help “reduce the nation’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks,” according to the Los Angeles Times. mission.”
In the greatest change to the U.S. government’s structure in 50 years, the new department will protect such areas as U.S. borders, airports, coasts and utilities. More than 170,000 employees will contribute to protecting the nation from biological and nuclear attacks, the Los Angeles Times reported. mission.”
Unfortunately, there are many problems with creating this department. Many citizens feel that their civil rights are being limited in an Orwellian-like fashion. mission.”
While trying to defend America, this new department does not enforce the protection of civil rights. The only protection of civil rights and liberties that the department offers is one officer who is not allowed to conduct investigations into civil rights violations by agency officials, according to Human Rights News. mission.”
“In trying to protect America, Congress gave short shrift to protecting civil rights,” said U.S. Advocacy Director Wendy Patten. “Much better safeguards are needed to ensure that this new and very powerful agency respects rights while carrying out its mission.”
Human rights groups are asking for a Deputy Inspector General for Civil Rights that would ensure violations are handled properly. Without this position, civil rights violations will go unchecked. mission.”
The U.S. government should not only create this position, but also make protection of civil rights a priority. Otherwise, we could lose the freedoms the department is meant to defend.
University Wire — U. Southern California