NYC mayor: We’ll take legal action if Trump sends officers
President Donald Trump is planning to deploy federal agents to Chicago and possibly other Democrat-run cities, including New York, as he continues to assert federal power and use the Department of Homeland Security in unprecedented, politicized ways.
The threat is likely not serious but if he did follow through, New York City would take legal action, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
“I have to start by saying this president blusters and bluffs and says he’s going to do things and they never materialize on a regular basis,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio said that if Trump did send federal officers to New York City, “it would only create more problems. It would backfire, it wouldn’t make us safer, and we would immediately take action in court to stop it.”
The Democratic mayor added, “From my point of view this would be yet another example of illegal and unconstitutional actions by the president. And we have often had to confront him in court and we usually win.”
State and local authorities in Oregon have charged in a lawsuit that masked federal officers have arrested people in Portland with no probable cause and whisked them away in unmarked cars. Trump defended the actions of the federal officers in Portland on Monday and said he would send officers to other cities including New York.
DHS is slated to send about 150 Homeland Security Investigations agents to Chicago to help local law enforcement deal with a spike in crime, according to an official with direct knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
In a tweet Sunday, Trump blamed local leaders for violence in Chicago and other cities.
“The Radical Left Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as we know it. Unimaginably bad things would happen to America,” Trump tweeted, referring to his likely Democratic opponent, Joe Biden. “Look at Portland, where the pols are just fine with 50 days of anarchy. We sent in help. Look at New York, Chicago, Philadelphia. NO!”
The move is Trump’s latest effort to use an agency — created after the Sept. 11 attacks to protect the country from terrorist threats — to supplement local law enforcement in ways that have alarmed critics.
Homeland Security agents have also been deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border along with National Guard troops during the crisis there.
But with the border largely shuttered because of the coronavirus and the number of illegal crossings plummeting, Trump has now turned the department onto what he sees as a threat within the U.S. and one that similarly plays to his base: violence following police reform protests that have rocked the nation since the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.
In June, federal authorities in riot gear used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds from Lafayette Square so the president could walk across the plaza and shoot a photo with a Bible outside a church. That land is federal property. But Portland and Chicago are not, though agents are supposed to be guarding federal buildings and other federal property.
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