As special units from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) act as Trump’s personal militia in Portland and other “blue cities,” the Trump administration seeking to move nearly $170 million away from bipartisan priorities — including the use of body cameras — to its own pet projects. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), the lead appropriator in the House of Representatives, is strongly opposed. Moreover, DHS and CBP are coming under intense criticism from across the country, including from former DHS and CBP officials, for going beyond the scope of their mission at the behest of a failing president desperately seeking reelection.
According to Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch at America’s Voice and former General Counsel for USCIS:
Unless Trump’s CBP stops attacking peaceful protestors around the country, and until they have real reform and meaningful accountability, Congress should not appropriate any additional money to CBP or allow CBP to move its money around. As our states, cities and towns are begging for more funding to stave off an economic collapse in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic, CBP has the audacity to propose moving money around, defying Congressional opposition so that their agents can continue to be the personal militia of the President.
Other leading voices are also weighing in condemning the Trump administration’s dangerous deployment of DHS agents to Portland and other American cities, and rejecting the call for more funding.
- Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), chair of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, wrote in a letter to Chad Wolf, “I would also note the significant incongruence between the proposed redeployment of CBP personnel to support the Border Patrol at the southern border at the same time that Border Patrol personnel are being redeployed to the interior of the country. No reprogramming to support the Border Patrol at the border should move forward as long as the Department continues to divert Border Patrol agents away from their border security mission.”
- Michael Chertoff, former Republican DHS Secretary, interviewed by Greg Sargent in the Washington Post called Trump’s threat to send federal border agents into blue cities “very problematic” and “very unsettling.” He added, “It undermines the credibility of the department’s principal mission…While it’s appropriate for DHS to protect federal property, that is not an excuse to range more widely in a city and to conduct police operations, particularly if local authorities have not requested federal assistance…the idea that people would be suggesting that it’s going to be a tool of political activity is very unsettling…It’s very problematic legally as well as morally.”
- Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary under George W. Bush, said,“DHS’s mission is to protect against ‘global terrorism’ and was ‘not established to be the president’s personal militia’…’It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent to a unilateral, uninvited intervention into one of my cities.’”
- Nate Bruggeman, who has served in senior policy positions at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, writes, “What is occurring in Portland is deeply troubling. As masked, federal agents toss Americans into unmarked vans and unleash violence, it is Orwellian theater in the streets. They are endangering lives and violating the rights of the people they ostensibly are protecting. At the forefront of this breakdown are agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, which is part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. With this debacle as a backdrop, the Trump administration is threatening to send federal agents to other American cities. Many Americans are rightly asking: Why are Border Patrol agents in Portland, and what are they doing? The answers to these questions are straightforward. They should not be there, and they are acting far outside their mission.”