State Watch

Homeland Security sending 150 agents to Chicago this week: report

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to send 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, The Chicago Tribune reported Monday. 

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, the Tribune reported citing unnamed sources. 

A specific plan on what the agents will be doing has not been made public, according to the Tribune. One city official told the newspaper that the city was aware of the plan but not any specifics. 

The move would come as Democratic leaders have condemned the Trump administration for sending federal officials to Portland, Ore., where there have been reports of people being picked up by agents in unmarked vans.

Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli on Monday said the efforts in Portland could be extended to other cities if there are spikes in violent protests.

The ACLU condemned the actions of the administration.

“Make no mistake: Trump’s federal troops will not be a constructive force in Chicago,” Colleen Connell, executive director of the ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement.

“As our colleagues have seen in Portland, Trump’s secret forces will terrorize communities and create chaos. This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country, and the specific protections of protest and press in the First Amendment,” Connell said.

One Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official in Chicago confirmed the deployment to the Tribune. The official said the HSI agents, who are part of ICE, would not be involved in immigration or deportation matters. 

A DHS official was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) and President Trump have publicly feuded recently, with each blaming the other for violence in the city. Trump sent a letter last month to Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) accusing the Democrats of failing the city amid a string of violent incidents in Chicago. 

Lightfoot said last week on MSNBC that gun violence in her city is a direct result of Trump’s failure to take action on gun reform legislation. 

“If you go back over many years President Trump has said a lot of disparaging things about the city of Chicago. He likes to use us as a political punching bag,” Lightfoot said. “But if the president was really committed to helping us deal with our violence he would do some easy things.” 

Democrats have widely condemned President Trump and his administration for sending federal law enforcement officials to U.S. cities amid protests. 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) said Sunday the presence of federal law enforcement is leading to more violence in the city and called for their removal. 

“They are not helping us, they are hurting us. They are escalating an already dangerous situation,” Wheeler said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And what I want to do is raise awareness nationally. This could happen in your city, and what we’re seeing is a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government, by a Trump administration that’s falling in the polls, and this is a direct threat to our democracy.”

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) sued federal agencies on Friday over the detention of protesters, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a similar lawsuit against federal agencies over deploying the agents to quell demonstrators in Portland. 

The ACLU and other civil rights groups also filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the Trump administration and the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department over the forcible clearing of Lafayette Square on June 1.

Amid reports that federal law enforcement officials are using unmarked vehicles to detain protesters in Portland, three House Democratic chairs on Sunday sent a letter to government watchdogs calling for an investigation of the use of federal force in U.S. cities.

Tags Chicago Department of Homeland Security DHS Donald Trump

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video