Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf announced Wednesday that federal law enforcement agents will be sent to Chicago and Albuquerque, but he stressed that their mission will differ from the recent action in Portland.
Wolf said that in Chicago, citizens are shooting and killing each other “on the streets,” and in Portland, “anarchists” are attacking a federal courthouse. The agents that were deployed in Portland were there to protect a federal courthouse after it was attacked.
“Every reasonable American agrees with the basic premise that every 4-year-old should be able to sleep safely in their beds … we will work with our federal law enforcement partners to keep that promise,” he said in a White House news conference.
President Donald Trump first announced there will be an increase in federal officers to fight crime in Chicago in the wake of numerous violent weekends that have left dozens of people dead and injured, including small children.
“Today I’m taking action to fulfill the sacred obligation,” Trump said in a White House speech. “In recent weeks, there’s been a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments. Extreme politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly, vilified our law enforcement heroes.”
He added, “To look at it from any standpoint, the effort to shut policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes, violence. This bloodshed must end.”
The administration’s intervention in law enforcement across various cities comes as the president runs on a “law-and-order” platform in the wake of demonstrations, riots, and calls to “defund the police.”
“The FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals service, and homeland security will together be sending hundreds of skilled law enforcement officers to Chicago to help drive down violent crime,” Trump remarked.
Wolf and the Trump administration faced criticism from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, both Democrats, for sending DHS officers to the city to make arrests.
A day before, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed the deployment.
“What I understand at this point, and I caveat that, is that the Trump administration is not going to foolishly deploy unnamed agents to the streets of Chicago,” Lightfoot, a Democrat, told reporters on Tuesday. “We have information that allows us to say, at least at this point, that we don’t see a Portland-style deployment coming to Chicago.”
“Unlike what happened in Portland, what we will receive is resources that are going to plug in to the existing federal agencies that we work with on a regular basis to help manage and suppress violent crime,” the Chicago mayor said. “I’ve been very clear that we welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship,” according to USA Today.