The whole world changed on September 11, 2001.
As an immigration lawyer, I believe it is essential to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its impact on immigration in the United States.
What is the Department of Homeland Security?
The DHS was formed in 2002 in response to the September 11th attacks, to protect the country from various threats, including terrorism, cyber attacks, and natural disasters. The agency brought together 22 different agencies into one entity, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was responsible for immigration enforcement. The DHS opened its doors as a stand alone agency on March 1, 2003. The DHS is central to the administration of the immigration system in the US, whereas USICS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) is in charge of administering immigration benefits.
What are the missions of the DHS?
- Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security Threats.
- Secure U.S. Borders and Approaches.
- Secure Cyberspace and Critical Infrastructure.
- Preserve and Uphold the Nation’s Prosperity and Economic Security
- Strengthen Preparedness and Resilience.
- Champion the DHS Workforce and Strengthen the Department.
What are the achievements of DHS?
The DHS has made significant strides in protecting the country from various threats, such as securing the borders, combating terrorism, responding to disasters, and enhancing cybersecurity. Some of the achievements of DHS are:
- The deployment of Border Patrol agents
- The construction of a border wall
- The use of technology such as drones and surveillance cameras
- The identification and removal of individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety
- Partnership with public and private sector organizations to improve the nation’s cybersecurity posture
- Implementation of online filing systems and biometric screening
What are the challenges faced by DHS?
The evolving nature of threats, such as domestic terrorism and biological threats, requires the DHS to continue adapting to new and emerging threats. Additionally, maintaining public trust and support is critical, and the DHS must ensure that its actions are consistent with the rule of law and respect for civil liberties.
How does DHS affect immigration today?
From an immigration perspective, the DHS’s implementation of border security measures has led to a significant increase in deportations and a decrease in the number of people crossing the border, until very recently.
The DHS has also made significant progress in identifying and removing individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety. However, there have been concerns about the impact of DHS’s policies on civil liberties and due process rights.
What is the future of DHS?
The future of DHS is uncertain, given the constantly evolving nature of threats and the need for the agency to adapt. However, the DHS will continue to play a vital role in protecting the United States from various threats and maintaining the country’s security and stability.
As an immigration lawyer with over 25 years of experience, I understand the need for DHS but have questioned many of its policies under the last three Presidential administrations as well as the current one.
As we look to the future of DHS, it is important that we continue to prioritize the humane treatment of all people, regardless of their immigration status.
As always, if you have any immigration questions, reach out to an immigration specialist like ourselves, as this complex area changes all the time.