George Floyd

DHS Staffers Say Trump Appointees Ignoring Them on Protests, Immigration

Three career employees from CBP and ICE say they are increasingly kept in the dark about new policies and planned operations

Chad Wolf, acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, testifies at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security.
Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, are ignoring the input of career officials at the Department of Homeland Security on key policies from immigration enforcement to protest response, two current and two former DHS officials said.

The sidelining by the Trump appointees is felt acutely in the agency's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, or CRCL, where employees hired to field complaints about DHS and review new policies believe they are not being heard, said the two current officials, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

In recent months, CRCL has raised concerns about the development of a new use-of-force policy for Customs and Border Protection, the two current officials said, including concerns about the use of chemical deterrents against people trying to damage the wall on the southern U.S. border. But after raising those concerns, the office has yet to hear back on whether agents will be allowed to use chemicals to deter people trying to damage the wall.

According to recent reports, Cuccinelli removed CRCL from its usual role of reviewing the reports from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the office recently accused of collecting intelligence on journalists covering the protests in Portland, Oregon.

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