Summary: S.2536 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (09/20/2004)

Homeland Security Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2004 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to include within the primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that civil rights are not diminished by efforts aimed at securing the homeland.

(Sec. 3) Requires DHS's Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to: (1) report directly to the Secretary of DHS; and (2) review and assess information concerning civil rights abuses and profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion by DHS employees and officials.

Includes among the Officer's responsibilities to: (1) assist the Secretary, directorates, and offices of DHS to develop, implement, and periodically review DHS policies and procedures to ensure that the protection of civil rights is appropriately incorporated into DHS programs and activities; (2) oversee compliance with requirements relating to civil rights; (3) coordinate with the DHS privacy officer to ensure that programs, policies, and procedures involving civil rights and privacy considerations are addressed in an integrated and comprehensive manner and that Congress receives appropriate reports regarding such programs; and (4) investigate complaints and information indicating possible abuses not to be investigated by DHS's Inspector General (IG).

(Sec. 4) Amends the Inspector General Act of 1978 to direct DHS's IG to designate a senior official within the Office of Inspector General to: (1) coordinate Office activities regarding investigations of civil rights abuses; (2) receive, review, and investigate information alleging abuses by DHS employees or by employees of independent contractors or grantees of DHS; (3) ensure that Office personnel receive sufficient training to conduct effective investigations; (4) consult with the Civil Rights Officer regarding such alleged abuses and any policy recommendations that may be founded upon an investigation by the Office; (5) provide such Officer with information regarding investigation outcomes; (6) refer civil rights matters that the IG decides not to investigate to such Officer; (7) ensure that the IG's Office publicizes and provides convenient public access to information regarding the procedure to file complaints or comments concerning civil rights matters and the status of investigations; and (8) inform the Officer of any civil rights deficiencies within DHS.

(Sec. 5) Amends the Homeland Security Act to require the DHS privacy officer to report directly to the Secretary and to coordinate with the Civil Rights Officer to ensure that programs involving civil rights and privacy are addressed in an integrated and comprehensive manner and that Congress receives appropriate reports.