HR 2203 - Homeland Security Improvement Act - National Key Vote


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Title: Homeland Security Improvement Act

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that increases transparency, accountability, and community engagement within the Department of Homeland Security, provides independent oversight of border security activities, improves training for agents and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and includes other provisions.



  • Establishes the position of Ombudsman for Border and Immigration Enforcement Related Concerns, and will (Sec. 1):

    • Be independent of Department agencies and officers;

    • Report directly to the Secretary; and

    • Have a background in immigration law, civil rights, and law enforcement.

  • Establishes the functions and duties of the Ombudsman as follows (Sec. 1):

    • To create an independent, neutral, accessible, confidential, and standardized process to help resolve complaints against U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a subcontractor, or a cooperating entity, and will include a publicly accessible website;

    • To identify, review, examine, and make recommendations to the Secretary concerning chronic issues that might arise from conducting duties stated in the previous sub-highlight;

    • To create a Border Oversight Panel; and

    • To review compliance with departmental policies and standards of care for the custody of undocumented individuals by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including violations of such policies or standards of care involving force feeding. 

  • Requires the Ombudsman to maintain complete confidentiality regarding the information of any individual that submits a complaint (Sec. 1).

  • Requires the Ombudsman to submit a report to the Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, no later than June 30 of each year starting the year after the date of this section’s enactment, with information including, but not limited to (Sec. 1):

    • The number and types of complaints received under this section;

    • Complaint patterns that could be prevented or decreased by policy training or practice changes; and

    • Patterns of violations of policy or standards.

  • Requires the Ombudsman to appoint a Border Community Liaison in each U.S. Border Patrol sector on the northern and southern borders (Sec. 1).

  • Establishes the purposes of each Liaison as follows (Sec. 1):

    • To foster cooperation between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and border communities;

    • To consult with border communities on the development, efficacy, and implementation of policies, directives, and programs; and

    • To submit an annual report to the Ombudsman on information and feedback collected.

  • Requires the Ombudsman to develop recommendations for the creation of an electronic track number system on a single interface that will be used for finding separated children and reunifying them with parents, legal guardians, or other relatives (Sec. 1).

  • Requires the Ombudsman to submit a plan for requiring, no later than one year after the enactment date, U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to use body-worn cameras (Sec. 1).