H.R. 4713 would authorize the existing Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The act outlines specific responsibilities for the office, including oversight of DHS’s compliance with and integration of current civil rights law into its activities. The act also would require assessments of the effects of DHS’s regulations on civil rights and civil liberties.
Although DHS already carries out many of the act’s requirements, H.R. 4713 would broaden some responsibilities and require DHS to undertake new activities. Using information from the department, CBO expects that DHS would need 16 full-time equivalent employees to carry out the act. At an average cost of $139,000 per employee, CBO estimates that implementing the oversight responsibilities would cost $11 million over the 2021-2025 period.
H.R. 4713 would require DHS to report periodically to the Congress about its investigations of abuses of civil rights and civil liberties, among other topics. The Government Accountability Office also would be required to report on DHS’s engagement of communities such as recent immigrants whose members’ civil rights and civil liberties may be affected by its activities. CBO estimates that meeting all of those reporting requirements would cost $3 million over the 2021-2025 period. That cost is based on the average cost of reports for those agencies.