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July 02, 2021

Chairman Thompson and Committee Democrats Introduce Major DHS Reform Legislation

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with Committee Democrats, reintroduced major legislation to reform the Department of Homeland Security to address longstanding challenges and prevent DHS from being used as a political weapon, as was done over the past four years by former President Trump. DHS’s role in carrying out the Trump Administration’s cruel immigration agenda together with its unwelcomed deployments to U.S. cities last summer eroded public trust and inflicted operational damage to the Department. The DHS Reform Act of 2021 (H.R.4357) will reform DHS to bolster accountability and transparency to the American people and ensure that it is able to address its wide range of missions.

The DHS Reform Act of 2021, will improve DHS operations and prevent mismanagement, waste, and abuse by requiring a range of reforms that:

  • Promote continuity in leadership by restricting the use of ‘acting’ officials.
  • Create a new Associate Secretary responsible for overseeing DHS’s law enforcement missions.
  • Strengthen civil rights and civil liberties protections in DHS policies, programs, and activities.
  • Require DHS’s use-of-force policy be updated to emphasize de-escalation.
  • Require greater accountability and transparency when DHS deploys officers to our cities and towns.
  • Ensure the public receives factual and non-biased information from DHS.
  • Authorize a range of programs to improve workforce morale within DHS.

“Under former President Trump, DHS became the face of his most extreme and politicized policies.  This has damaged the Department’s ability to address its national security mission while also eroding workforce morale and the public’s trust in it. We are introducing the DHS Reform Act today with clear and commonsense reform measures to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse – including violations of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

"The DHS Reform Act will help build back DHS better, put it on a path to normalcy, and to help inoculate it from future misuse. For DHS to effectively secure the nation from the diverse threats that it faces, the public must have confidence that the Department is both transparent and accountable. I look forward to working with Secretary Mayorkas, Committee members, and homeland security stakeholders to move this legislation in the coming months.”

The DHS Reform Act of 2021 is co-sponsored by: Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, James Langevin, Donald Payne Jr., Kathleen Rice, Lou Correa, Emanuel Cleaver, Al Green, Yvette Clarke, Dina Titus, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Eric Swalwell, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Tom Malinowski, Ritchie Torres and Val Demings. Chairman Thompson introduced similar legislation in November 2020.

Link to Legislation Text (H.R.4357)
Link to Legislation Fact Sheet
Link to Legislation Section by Section

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