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Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security was established in 2002 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The department’s primary responsibilities are to prevent terrorist attacks and to respond to national security threats. After widespread criticism of DHS’ response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts in 2005, the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act reorganized the department and its Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Besides FEMA, the department’s component agencies include U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Coast Guard, Secret Service, and the Federal Law Enforcement and Training Center. Its website offers statistics on immigration as well as immigration enforcement actions, text of laws and regulations dealing with border security, guidance on how to become a U.S. citizen, information on current disaster areas in the U.S. and a hodgepodge of other material.

Comments: The department presents the government’s viewpoint, and information from its website should be viewed with that in mind. However, its information and statistics dealing with immigration, federal law enforcement training and the department’s other components can be useful.