DHS Unveils Measures to Address Domestic Violent Extremism in New Equity Action Plan

The Department of Homeland Security will apply an outreach, collaboration, and intelligence-sharing framework to counter domestic violent extremism against targeted communities under the department’s new Equity Action Plan.

The plan was developed pursuant to President Biden’s January 20, 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Racial Equity and Supporting Underserved Communities through the Federal Government. government, which stated that “because promoting equity requires a systematic approach to integrating equity into decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies must recognize and work to address the inequities in their policies and programs that constitute barriers to equal opportunity”.

DHS has identified seven priority areas in pursuing this mission: seeking naturalization, accessing humanitarian protection during immigration processing, bidding for DHS contracts, combating all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, file complaints and seek redress under DHS programs and activities, airport screening. , and access Trusted Traveler programs.

“The Department of Homeland Security interacts with the public on a daily basis more than any other federal agency. Since January 2021, DHS has taken several significant steps to ensure that we serve the public and all communities across the country fairly,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Thursday. “The DHS Equity Action Plan builds on our department’s progress in better integrating equity into all DHS activities and reinforces our commitment to continue this critical work.”

DHS plans to “increase efforts to counter domestic violent extremism and targeted violence by enhancing programs aimed at empowering communities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism, build community resilience, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ongoing domestic violent extremism programs,” according to the Equity Action Plan.

“Lone actors and small groups based in the United States, including grassroots violent extremisms and domestic violent extremists (DVEs) inspired by a wide range of ideological motivations, pose the largest and most persistent terrorism-related threat for our country,” the plan reads. . “DVEs are driven by a variety of factors, including racial bias, government overrepresentation, conspiracy theories promoting violence, and false narratives of unsubstantiated fraud in the 2020 presidential election. racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, including white supremacists (RMVE-WS), will likely remain the deadliest DVE movement in the homeland.

It emphasizes that the department is “committed to combating all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, including terrorism and targeted violence intended to intimidate or coerce specific populations on the basis of their ethnic origin, national origin, religion, sex , sexual orientation, gender identity, or political opinions.

Domestic violent extremism and targeted violence are called “barriers to the full participation of underserved communities in society as a whole” in the plan, which cites “a disturbing increase recently in violence towards the AANHPI community, the Jewish community , African Americans and other racial minorities” and attacks on black synagogues, mosques and churches. Extremism also “often interferes with the exercise by these communities of their civil rights and civil liberties, including exercise of their First Amendment rights to free expression and free exercise of their faith.”

The plan says a “whole-of-society approach” to preventing terrorism and targeted violence will avoid an approach to countering violent extremism that focuses on specific communities, but “provides communities with the tools to help prevent individuals from radicalize to violence”.

DHS’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) will continue to “build support for local efforts to create violence prevention frameworks,” such as its October digital forum focused on civil rights and freedoms. civil society which included representatives of Black, Latino, AANHPI, Arab/Middle Eastern and LGBTQ+ communities as well as faith-based organizations.

The plan aims to improve access for underserved communities to the Violence and Terrorism Prevention Targeted Grants Program and the Nonprofit Security Grants Program through outreach activities aimed at increasing awareness and awareness. interest, as well as technical assistance and support during the grant process.

The department also commits to “preventing, detecting, and responding to potential DVE threats internal to DHS” by establishing “clear policies and guidance to prevent, detect, and respond to potential domestic violent extremists within DHS, while protecting employee privacy rights, civil rights and civil liberties.

Intelligence analysis and information sharing capabilities will be increased to “provide actionable and timely intelligence to the widest audience at the lowest possible classification level”, “publish and disseminate intelligence bulletins that provide our partners better insight into evolving threats and situational awareness that can inform public safety and security planning efforts to identify and prevent violence” and foster collaboration with the FBI and the intelligence community to “ better understand and assess the extent of operational relationships between violent extremists in the United States and those operating in other parts of the world.”

DHS will also “continue to engage in robust dialogue with members of underserved communities to understand their concerns related to domestic violent extremism and targeted violence.”

To determine the effectiveness of these initiatives, the department says it will assess how targeted underserved communities “report that they feel that DHS, and the government generally, have taken actions that make them feel that the DVE threat against them has diminished”.

The plan adds that DHS “will continue to meet regularly with members of underserved communities and other stakeholders to report on DHS’s efforts to address DVE and acts of targeted violence, and to welcome feedback on the effectiveness of these efforts.

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