US Homeland Security Staff accuse leadership of turning ‘blind eye’ to Gaza

In a letter obtained by Al Jazeera, Homeland Security employees said that there is a glaring absence from leadership regarding the atrocities

Vice President Joe Biden visit to Israel March 2016
(Photo: Twitter/X)
WASHINGTON — More than a hundred staff members from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have signed an open letter addressed to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, criticizing the department's handling of the war in Gaza. The exclusive letter obtained by Al Jazeera expresses frustration with what the signatories perceive as a "palpable, glaring absence in the Department’s messaging" regarding the "recognition, support, and mourning" for the more than 18,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza since the war began on October 7.اضافة اعلان

The letter, dated November 22, highlights the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the conditions in the West Bank. It criticizes DHS leadership for seemingly ignoring the bombing of refugee camps, hospitals, ambulances, and civilians.

The 139 signatories include staff members from DHS and its affiliated agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Notably, some staff members chose to sign the letter anonymously due to fears of potential backlash. The letter calls on DHS to "provide a fair and balanced representation of the situation, and allow for respectful expression without the fear of professional repercussions."

As of the time of publication, DHS had not responded to Al Jazeera's request for comment.

This letter underscores growing fractures within the administration of President Joe Biden, who has faced internal criticism for the government's stance on the Gaza war. Last month, over 500 officials from 40 government agencies issued an anonymous letter urging Biden to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Another letter, signed by 1,000 employees from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), echoed a similar appeal.

Despite internal pressure, Biden has been hesitant to criticize Israel's ongoing military offensive in Gaza, reaffirming his "rock solid and unwavering" support for the US ally. Secretary Mayorkas, in an internal message on November 2, aligned with Biden's stance, denouncing the "horrific terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7" by the Palestinian group Hamas but omitting any mention of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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