The Corner

The Encourage Lawsuits Against DHS Act?

Meanwhile, back in Washington, where they are rushing to pass an open-the-floodgates immigration bill, people are still picking through the 800-page text.  I was sent this e-mail about a nugget someone just came across:

The CIR bill mandates that within 180 days of enactment the Secretary of DHS along with Justice Department lawyers in the Civil Rights Division issue policies governing the use of force by all DHS personnel.  The policies established will require all DHS personnel to report each use of force.  It will also establish procedures for accepting and investigating complaints regarding the use of force by DHS personnel, and disciplining DHS personnel who violate any law or DHS policy relating to the use of force, and reviewing all uses of force by DHS personnel to determine whether the use of force complied with DHS policy, or demonstrates the need for changes in policy, training, or equipment.

These policies will have a number of bad consequences.  First and foremost, it jeopardizes the safety of DHS personnel.  Instead of acting with their safety as their top priority, they will be operating with the fear of possible discipline.  Furthermore, this policy is going to be written in conjunction with the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, which is notorious for being a liberal bastion of pro-defense lawyers.  If these procedures are written in a way that provides a greater extent of liability for DHS personnel, which they undoubtedly will be, it will create an unfavorable enforcement environment for DHS personnel. In addition, any increase in the number of disciplines will result in an increase in the number of lawsuits brought against DHS personnel.  And these lawsuits will not be cheap. The bill will also allow for complaints to be made by anybody, including illegal aliens detained crossing the border.  All that an apprehended individual needs to know is that they can file a complaint, which their lawyer will undoubtedly know, and they will file one, there is no reason not to. This will result in endless investigations of DHS personnel.


Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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