Homeland Security Plans To Send 150 Agents To Chicago, Scope Of Duty Unknown
The Department of Homeland Security is planning to deploy 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, according to the Chicago Tribune.
- The agents are part of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and will be assisting other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, however their exact role has yet to be disclosed. HSI agents are part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Tribune noted.
- The move comes as an increase in reports of federal agents confronting street protesters in Portland has raised alarm in many circles.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Longfoot said in an unrelated news conference that she is concerned about President Trump sending federal agents into Chicago, which has also been experiencing more protests, based on what was happening in Portland, saying:
“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully.”
- The Trump administration has maintained a narrative of seeking to enforce “law and order” amid unrest in big cities following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by police. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said to Fox News:
“Some of the unrest that we saw, even in the last month or so, but particularly last night and in the week leading up to it in Portland, is just not acceptable when you look at communities not being safe and not upholding the rule of law. So, Attorney General Barr is weighing in on that with Secretary Wolf and you’ll see something rolled out this week as we start to go in and make sure that the communities, whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or some place across the heartland of the country, we need to make sure their communities are safe.”
- The ACLU of Illinois issued a statement opposing the move. Colleen Connell, executive director of the group, said in the statement:
“Make no mistake: Trump’s unmarked federal forces will not assist in constructively addressing violence in Chicago. As our colleagues have seen in Portland, Trump’s secret forces will terrorize communities, and create chaos. This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country, the specific protections of protest and press in the First Amendment, and the Constitution’s assignment of policing to local authorities, not a president acting like a despot.”