ICE agents told to be ready for unrest in DC on Election Day
Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been told to be ready for possible unrest in Washington, D.C., on Election Day, NBC News reports.
An anonymous ICE official told NBC News that agents were ready to secure federal buildings and work with local police.
The unusual move is just the latest reported effort from across the country to prepare for possible unrest as a result of Tuesday’s election.
Two officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told NBC News that the move was also in response to nationwide protests and attacks on federal property this year following police killings of unarmed African Americans. While many of those protests were peaceful, some turned violent.
“The American people can rest assured that this election will be decided by American voters. Working alongside our Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners, the Department of Homeland Security is fully prepared regarding election night safety and security,” DHS spokesperson Chase Jennings said in a statement to The Hill.
“To be clear, the Department of Homeland Security has limited authorities regarding physical security—our jurisdiction covers only federal property,” he added.
In a statement to The Hill, CBP said “as a law enforcement component under the DHS Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), CBP will continue to provide support, as requested, to the Federal Protective Service to protect Federal facilities and property if needed.”
The Hill has reached out to ICE for comment.
A YouGov Poll released earlier this month found that a majority of voters — nearly 56 percent — expect to see an increase in violence following the 2020 election, and jurisdictions have been taking precautionary measures in anticipation of possible unrest.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told Politico on Thursday that he was preparing the state for civil unrest following the election.
“As it relates to making sure people are safe, making sure not only the process of voting is a safe and healthy one, but keeping people safe after the election for whatever may occur, the answer is yes, we are always gaming out different scenarios and making sure that we are prepared,” Newsom told Politico about possible election night chaos.
Officials in Chicago have held an “all-hazards” drill going through how they would handle election-related threats and violence.
“Given what we experienced over the course of the spring and the summer, we can’t presume that what’s going to happen … is going to be peaceful,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said on a conference call Tuesday. “We are preparing for the worst. So what we’ve been doing is a lot of drilling, a lot of making sure that we break down barriers, that no one part of election security is operating in a silo.”
The concerns come as President Trump repeatedly casts doubt on the validity of election results, and has called on his supporters to “go into polls” to monitor the voting process for fraud, a claim that Democrats call voter intimidation.