The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the Department of Homeland Security to be disbanded. The civil rights group has cited the department's handling of crowds in protest as its reasoning.
The ACLU claims that their response to civil rights protests in Portland, Oregon have proven that the DHS isn't acting within the bounds of the Constitution, and should no longer exist in its current state, in an editorial published by USA Today. It calls those actions one of the many "red flags" that have been raised about DHS throughout its history. The ACLU also cites that back in 2002, it referred to the DHS's initial as being nothing short of "constitutionally bankrupt." The decision was also announced via Twitter on Monday.
BREAKING: We’re calling for the dismantling of the Department of Homeland Security.— ACLU (@ACLU) August 10, 2020
"Nearly 20 years of abuse, waste, and corruption demonstrate the failure of the DHS experiment. Many knew DHS to be an ineffective superagency, but President Trump has converted DHS into our government's most notable badge of shame," the organization wrote in two follow-up tweets. "Dismantling DHS, breaking it apart into various federal agencies, and shrinking its federal budget will allow for more effective oversight, accountability and public transparency."
Along with the protest response, the ACLU also notes that the DHS has spied on Black Lives Matter activists, infiltrated Muslim communities and committed violence across the U.S./Mexico border. It also mentions the department's role in separating children from their parents at the same border, which is still in legal deliberation.
The ACLU also cited a number of former DHS officials. Including the first secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, who recently said that the agency "wasn't designed to become the president’s personal militia." Ridge was joined by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff who called Trump's deployment of agents to U.S. cities "damaging to the department." Finally, Richard Clarke, who served on the National Security Council for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has also called for dismantling DHS.
In April, the DHS seized 20,000 coronavirus tests purchased by a private emergency room in of Laredo, Texas. Tests were are already hard to come by back then, and set the owner back $500,000. Prior to the pandemic, the DHS also questioned Kelly Kay, who rushed the field during the Superbowl back in February. "Another thing I didn't expect and didn't think about was the FBI and Homeland Security interrogating me," Kay told TMZ after her arrest.