North Texas Daily

Federal Agents have arrived in Portland, and soon, nationwide

Federal Agents have arrived in Portland, and soon, nationwide

Federal Agents have arrived in Portland, and soon, nationwide
July 23
14:00 2020

In Oregon’s biggest city, unmarked and unidentifiable “secret police” have been rounding up protesters into unmarked vehicles, to disappear into the night all at the behest of Donald Trump. It may not seem like it, but this is fascism at it’s finest.

“Secret police” may be a bit of a hyperbole. The “secret police” sent to detain protesters in Portland are actually federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security. And while nobody is truly “disappearing,” DHS appears to be practicing deliberate disrespect and disregard of police ethics.

On June 26, Trump signed an executive order to send federal officers to cities around the country to protect statues, monuments and federal property. Five days later, DHS formed the Protecting American Communities Task Force to coordinate the response nationwide.

This new task force would, according to a statement from DHS, “conduct ongoing assessments of potential civil unrest or destruction and allocate resources to protect people and property,” which might “involve potential surge activity to ensure the continuing protection of critical locations.”

However, the problem is that the DHS agents are not being identified by name, are dressed in military camouflage instead of their normal uniforms, are using rental cars to transport detainees and they apparently aren’t following the writ of habeas corpus until detainees actually arrive at the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. Even worse, DHS actually shot a couple of protesters in the head with “less lethal” ammunitions.

The Constitution did not give the federal government police power. That was left to the states. They don’t have any right to be doing this. A federal law enforcement officer has a lot of requirements to be mobilized. Dispersing protests is not one of them. DHS is for fighting terrorism on the home field, not arresting people for practicing their First Amendment rights or even people breaking the law with misdemeanor crimes like vandalism. None of what’s going on in Portland is terrorism.

The citizens of Portland are terrified, and nobody wants the Feds in the city. Not the citizens, the protestors, the city officials or even the governor.

DHS’s actions have been so abhorrent that even Portland Police have tried to distance themselves from DHS.

Trump’s administration and DHS have defended these actions, portraying the largely peaceful George Floyd-protests as “violent mobs” of “lawless anarchists.”

“DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them,” Trump said in his July 16 statement.

But if Trump was doing a respectable job he wouldn’t have to worry about protecting federal installations. He has no idea how to manage a nation so instead, he is defaulting to the most brutal and basic tactics that a low-grade Pinochet wannabe can muster.

The DHS problem doesn’t stop in Portland, as Trump has made it known that he wants to send federal agents to other “problem cities.” And, to no one’s surprise, it’s aimed at “sanctuary cities.”

In a statement from the ACLU, it said that “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will deploy Border Patrol’s special forces-style unit, known as BORTAC, and other Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents — dressed in plainclothes — into Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark.”

Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, told reporters she had “great concerns” about the report, “particularly given the track record” in Portland. “We don’t need federal agents, without any insignia, taking people off the street and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That’s not what we need,” Lightfoot said.

Despite these concerns, it seems that neither side is backing down in Portland, and thus, we will see tensions rise across the US. Martial law has no place in this country.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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