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Tell DHS What You Think About Homeland Security

Here’s your chance to tell the Department of Homeland Security what you think a sound immigration policy is, or whether you should be allowed to take your toothpaste on a plane or when to get rid of the weird color-coded terrorist threat advisory system. This morning, DHS launched a new Website, Homeland Security Dialogue, for the “stakeholder community” — that’s you, and your local cops and firefighters and so on — to tell the department what you’d like to see in the department’s upcoming Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, a document that will guide what the department focuses on and what it buys. In particular, David Heyman, the undersecretary of Homeland Security for policy, wants your comments.

In a blogger conference call, Heyman unveiled Homeland Security Dialogue as a place for Americans to discuss and comment “the vision and the goals for homeland security” that six department task forces contributing to the QHSR are studying. The idea is that you’d go over to the Website, read through the proposed statements on a variety of department functions — immigration, disaster preparedness, counterterrorism, etc. — and both comment and rate each others’ comments. That way the task forces will get your input on the front end of the review. Heyman said he hoped the tool would allow the “pulse of the community” to be “fed back into the study group.”

The QHSR won’t be due to Congress until December, but the first phase of commenting closes out on Aug. 9. There’ll be additional comment phases in late August/early September and then late September/early October to discuss different aspects of the review. For now, thanks to some early solicitation from the department of key “stakeholder” opinion, there are already some comments up. RPMueck from the University of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety thinks the counterterrorism mission statement is “well intentioned but wordy.” Jlyall of the Catholic Charities of Los Angeles wants the department to “reconsider the effect its enforcement policies are having on families and communities, particularly low-income communities of color.” Netwings from CERT Queens District 1 wants to “Close borders to immigrants.”

Internet: only you can determine what’s in the mainstream or in the margins for DHS’s consideration.

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