Opening Statement by Peter Mina, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the U.S. Presentation to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Concerning the U.S. Report on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Report)
As Submitted for the Record
Madame Chair, members of the Committee, and representatives of civil society,
I am Peter Mina, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Also here with me today are my two colleagues: Claire Trickler-McNulty, Assistant Director for the Office of Immigration Program Evaluation at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and James McCament, Senior Policy Advisor to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It is an honor to speak to you today about our Department’s work addressing racial discrimination. The Department of Homeland Security has been diligently pursuing the goals of equality and equity. This is reflected in, among other things:
Our efforts to fight racially and ethnically motivated domestic violent extremism, including through our new Center for Prevention, Programs, and Partnerships.
Our proud role in the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families, which, as of July 28th, has facilitated the reunification of 400 children and parents who were previously separated at the US-Mexico border through the use of the Zero-Tolerance policy and related initiatives;
Our successful effort to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols, or Remain in Mexico program, which culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court victory in June affirming the Secretary’s authority to terminate the program, and the instruction to cease enrollment in the program earlier this week, after the district court lifted the injunction that had required the Department to reimplement the program.
And the work of my office in investigating civil rights and civil liberties complaints against the Department. For example, my office has been investigating complaints against U.S. Customs and Border Protection relating to the treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas last year. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility also investigated and released a report. As a result of this oversight, institutional changes and the appropriate disciplinary process are now underway.
In closing, we are proud to stand with our fellow agencies to help the United States comply with its CERD obligations and are grateful for the opportunity to speak with you today about our Department’s critical role in those efforts.
It is my pleasure now to introduce Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, from the Department of the Interior.