The Department of Homeland Security will undergo an internal review to address the threat of “domestic violent extremism” as part of the federal government’s effort to root out “threats” from within its ranks.
News of the review came Monday in an announcement from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who ordered that it begin immediately.
“Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “As we work to safeguard our Nation, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and combat domestic violent extremism within both the broader community and our own organization.
“Hateful acts and violent extremism will not be tolerated within our Department.”
The review will be handled by an internal team at DHS, led by the department’s chief security officer. The group will produce a report regarding “how best to identify and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism, including those based on racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism.”
Multiple members of President Biden’s cabinet have made addressing “extremism” inside the federal government a priority in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day “stand down” of the entire US military back in February in order for commanders to address the threat.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby described the military-wide pause at the time as similar to stand downs that units have to do to address safety concerns.
Austin issued the order following a meeting about the topic with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, as well as service civilian leaders and service chiefs.
The group also discussed the Capitol riot, Kirby said, noting the presence of veterans and active-duty service members at the scene. They left the meeting still uncertain of how to fully address the problem, leading to the pause.
During his first major speech as the nation’s top law enforcement officer earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged that the Justice Department was treating domestic terrorism as a top priority.
“The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack, prosecuting those who do and battling the spread of the kind of hate that leads to tragedies like the one we mark here today,” the attorney general said.
He made a similar promise during his Senate confirmation hearing, vowing that a federal probe into the riot would be his main focus.
As DHS remains focused on the “extremism” threat, another core responsibility of the department continues to erupt into a crisis.
The Biden administration’s undoing of former President Donald Trump’s border policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican illegal migrants at the US border, including thousands of unescorted children.
Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that Biden is inviting them to cross the border.
Insisting that the border was not facing a crisis, Mayorkas said in early March that the problems the agency faced should be blamed on the previous administration.
The data, however, overwhelmingly shows that migrants were flooding the border because they believed Biden would welcome them with open arms.