The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reportedly planning to deploy around 150 Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents to Chicago this week.
The agents are being sent to aid Chicago police and other federal law enforcement personnel in fighting crime, though a sepcific plan has not been released, the Chicago Tribune reported. DHS’s decision comes at a time of heightened tensions around the role of federal agents in controlling protests and riots. (RELATED: Congressman Accuses Chicago Police Of Relaxing, Eating Popcorn In His Office During Riots)
An official from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that the agents are planning to be deployed and added that they would not be handling issues related to immigration or deportation, according to the Tribune. HSI agents are a part of ICE.
It’s also unclear where the agents will be coming from or what their chain of command will be.
Federal agents have been deployed in several parts of the country to help local law enforcement deal with the protests that have been ongoing since George Floyd’s death on May 25. Protests, which often began peacefully, turned violent in many places. Protesters clashed with police in Chicago and started throwing objects at them during a demonstration at a Christopher Columbus statue Friday, Fox News reported.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that “we don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday after federal agents were deployed to Portland, Oregon that “we are trying to help Portland, not hurt it.” Riots there turned violent over the weekend as protesters burned a police union building and clashed with police.
We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2020
“Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators,” the president tweeted. “They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!”