The Department of Homeland Security plans to send 150 federal agents to Chicago this weekend to help curb violent crime, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Gun violence and criminal behavior in Chicago has skyrocketed, with more than 70 people injured and 10 killed just this past weekend.
This same weekend last year, 43 people were shot, three of them fatally.
It’s clear Chicago authorities no longer have control of the city, but Democrats insisted this week that federal policing would only make the situation worse.
“Make no mistake: Trump’s federal troops will not be a constructive force in Chicago,” Colleen Connell, executive director of the ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement.
Connell referenced federal policing efforts in Portland, which acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf defended as absolutely necessary given the radical efforts of Antifa terrorists to brutalize and destroy government property.
“I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not,” Wolf told Fox News.
“We want to work with them. And we have a great working relationship with the vast majority of local law enforcement,” Wolf said. “However there are some communities that, again, want to breed this environment that allows this lawlessness.”
Trump administration officials have been warning Democratic-run cities that the federal government would step in if need be. Just last week, acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said that federal enforcement would spread if violent protests continued to spike.
“If we get the same kind of intelligence in other places about threats to other federal facilities or officers, we would respond the same way,” he told CNN.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the DHS, says federal officials had “intelligence about planned attacks on federal facilities” in Portland, Oregon.
“If we get the same kind of intelligence in other places… we would respond the same way.”https://t.co/ZuxJMTwxjo pic.twitter.com/L70hrCz3w8
— New Day (@NewDay) July 20, 2020
Federal officers have been reportedly rounding up antagonistic rioters and detaining them in unmarked vehicles. Videos of the altercations prove that these rioters were defacing public buildings, setting dumpster fires, and throwing projectiles at officers standing guard:
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 21, 2020
Yet Oregon Gov. Kate Brown claimed that Wolf and other DHS officials were deliberately setting up confrontations between protesters and law enforcement.
I told Acting Secretary Wolf that the federal government should remove all federal officers from our streets. His response showed me he is on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 16, 2020
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has already adopted a similar tone, blaming Trump for gun violence in her city, which she said is a direct result of the Trump administration’s refusal to take action on gun-reform legislation.
“If you go back over many years President Trump has said a lot of disparaging things about the city of Chicago. He likes to use us as a political punching bag,” Lightfoot said. “But if the president was really committed to helping us deal with our violence he would do some easy things.”
Lightfoot urged Trump not to send federal officers to Chicago on Monday, claiming that their presence would be a “disaster.”
“What we do not need, and what will certainly make our community less safe is secret, federal agents deployed to Chicago,” Lightfoot wrote in a letter to the White House.
Federal officers would be “unfamiliar with the unique circumstances of our neighborhoods” and would not be effective, she argued.
Trump, however, defended the DHS’s work in Portland and said his officers have done a “fantastic job” thus far.
“I’m going to do something—that, I can tell you,” he said when asked about Lightfoot’s letter. “Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these—it’s a mess.”