Mayors urge Congress to pass legislation barring the deployment of federal troops to cities
Six Democratic mayors have sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to pass legislation barring the Trump administration from sending federal agents to their cities.
The mayors called on the congressional leaders to pass legislation that would require the administration to receive consent from local authorities before deploying federal agents, as well as limit federal agents’ crowd controlling activities to protect federal property.
They also said the legislation should require visible identification at all times on federal agents and vehicles unless the agents are on an undercover mission authorized by the local U.S. attorney.
The letter — sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday — comes amid reports of unidentified federal agents detaining demonstrators in Portland, Ore.
At the direction of the President of the United States, unidentified federal agents have been deployed to America’s cities, like Washington, D.C., Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, to interrupt local protests and impose “law and order” for political purposes. pic.twitter.com/aTOWv90RXT
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 27, 2020
“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen. As demonstrated now in Portland, these federal forces have used the pretext of protecting federal property to also patrol streets, way outside of their lawful jurisdiction, arrest residents without cause and trample on Constitutional rights,” the mayors wrote.
“These actions further erode trust in government at all levels; are de-legitimizing local law enforcement; and escale, rather than de-escalate tensions. We live in a democratic republic, not an authoritarian police state. We must block this type of dangerous and undemocratic exercise of power once and for all,” they added.
The letter is signed by the mayors of Chicago; Seattle; Portland; Albuquerque; Washington, D.C.; and Kansas City, Mo.
It follows a letter sent by 14 mayors last week to Trump administration officials calling for them to stop deploying federal officers to cities in response to protests.
Trump last week said his administration will send federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and Albuquerque, following agents the administration sent to Portland. The Trump administration in June also used federal law enforcement officers to aid local D.C. officers amid protests.
Democrats and local officials have condemned the administration for deploying federal officials to cities in response to protests over police brutality and racial inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in May.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) sued federal agencies over the detention of protesters. The ACLU and other civil rights groups have also sued the Trump administration over the forcible clearing of Lafayette Square during protests in D.C. on June 1.