July 2023

Following a December 2022 investigation by the Project on Government Oversight and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which found more than 300 members of the “Oath Keepers” far-right militia group “described themselves as current or former employees” of DHS, Sen Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Representatives Dan Goldman (D-New York) and Robert Garcia (D-California) led a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, signed by 66 members of Congress, “requesting an update on actions the Department has taken to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the DHS.” The letter cites various incidents of collaboration with vigilante groups or approval of them from federal agents. 

As cited by The New York Times, Rep. Daniel S. Goldman (D-N.Y.) said in an interview, “There’s real urgency here.” Goldman said DHS’s acknowledgment that there were gaps in identifying extremist employees “creates real security issues and real credibility issues for the department, especially in light of the Oath Keepers’ role in January 6th and the convictions for seditious conspiracy.”

The letters gave Mayorkas a July 31 deadline to address 20 questions. Secretary Mayorkas has yet to respond.

—Jackman, Tom. “Democrats Press Homeland Security on Domestic Extremism in Workforce.” Washington Post, July 17, 2023. https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/07/17/domestic-terrorism-homeland-security-extremism-oathkeepers/.
—Markey, Edward. “Markey, Garcia, Goldman Lead Call for Update on Investigation Into Domestic Terrorism Threat Within the Department of Homeland Security | U.S. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.” U.S. Senate, July 17, 2023. https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-garcia-goldman-lead-call-for-update-on-investigation-into-domestic-terrorism-threat-within-the-department-of-homeland-security.
—Schwellenback, Nick. “Hundreds of Oath Keepers Have Worked for DHS, Leaked List Shows.” Project On Government Oversight, December 12, 2022. https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2022/12/hundreds-of-oath-keepers-have-worked-for-dhs-leaked-list-shows.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, Border-Wide, CBP

Agency(ies): CBP, DHS

Event Type(s): Vigilantism Tolerance or Collaboration

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: