President Donald Trump is planning to deploy federal agents to Chicago and possibly other Democrat-run cities as he continues to assert federal power and use the Department of Homeland Security in unprecedented, politicized ways. (July 21)
JULIE PACE: So certainly, the mayors of these cities are overwhelmingly Democratic mayors and opponents of the president, and they have been pretty outraged by both the move to put federal agents into their cities, and also just the threat of doing so. And so they are warning that these federal agents are not welcome. And I do think that this sets up this constitutional clash of where the federal government has the right to take this kind of law enforcement action in the states.
We are told that some of these agents could have the ability to track, to try to monitor people who are either accused of threatening federal property or are suspected of wanting to do so, outside of that direct area. So suddenly, you starting talking about federal agents that can be all across the city.
There are a lot of legal battles surrounding what we've already seen in Portland, and I think that the outcome of those proceedings will really impact what the president is legally going to be allowed to do in other places. But he is certainly testing his limits.
There is actually a counter-reaction to the fact that those federal agents are there, and that is actually causing an uptick in violence instead of actually calming it down. So it looks as though, at least initially, that this is proving to be counterproductive in Portland.
Experts that we talked to say that they do see some links between the uptick in violence that we are seeing in some places and this incredible strain on a lot of people, especially when you're talking about communities that were already starting behind the curve. You know, places where the economy was already suffering, where jobless rates were high, where health care was not particularly good. And those communities have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
And so the president seems to be trying to use that uptick in violence for political gain, trying to draw this distinction between what's happening in Democratic areas and what's happening in Republican areas, and not actually trying to get to the root of the problem and try to really understand and help a lot of these mayors and governors address what is happening in their cities.