When crimes get difficult, sometimes investigators have to take extraordinary measures. However, one such measure has caught the attention of the AP, where Border Patrol agents are being brought in to help track down and catch protesters in Portland who are wanted on various crimes.
hey are the most highly trained members of the Border Patrol, agents who confront drug traffickers along the U.S.-Mexico border and track down dangerous fugitives in rugged terrain.
One day this past week, they were in a far difference setting — a city park in Portland, Oregon, looking for two people suspected of throwing rocks and bottles at officers guarding the downtown federal courthouse.
Beyond the debate over whether the federal response to the Portland protests encroaches on local authority, another question arises: whether the Department of Homeland Security, with its specialized national security focus, is the right agency for the job.
It’s not just the Border Patrol Tactical Unit that has been called to duty in Portland. DHS has dispatched Air Marshals as well as the Customs and Border Protection Special Response Team and even members of the Coast Guard.
“The Department of Homeland Security was never intended as a national police force let alone a presidential militia,” said Peter Vincent, a former general counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is also an agency within DHS.
The deployment of DHS agents and officers is legal, both under existing law and an executive order President Donald Trump signed June 26 to protect federal property and monuments. But it has made the agency, created to improve the nation’s response to terrorism, a target of widespread criticism.
Congress plans to delve into the issue Friday, when the House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on the federal response to the protests in Portland and Trump’s announcement that he plans to send federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to help combat rising crime while making “law and order” a central theme of his reelection campaign.
“Americans across the country are watching what the administration is doing in Portland with horror and revulsion and are wondering if their cities could be President Trump’s next targets,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who is chairman of the committee.
As of Monday, there were 114 federal agents and officers deployed to downtown Portland, according to an affidavit from Gabriel Russell, the regional director of the Federal Protective Service, the DHS component that provides security for federal buildings.
Protests have been taking place in Portland since May 26 but the federal agents kept a “defensive posture” by staying inside federal buildings until July 3, Russell said in the affidavit, filed in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking protections for journalists and other legal observers covering the demonstrations. (source)
I do not wish to give the impression that I am supporting the “Black Lives Matter” shenanigans, or that I am somehow in favor of some kind of authoritarianism. Neither is true, for “BLM” does not care about black lives at all (as evidenced by their care in the recent murder of Secoria Turner that happened almost at the same spot where the drunk felon who tried to use a police officer’s weapon against him Rayhard Brooks was killed), and it is a fact that what rights the common man has continues to disappear as the US leans dangerously towards authoritarianism.
It is a consistent fact that in the western world, emergency powers are often not used for real emergencies, but as a way to justify a perpetual state of chaos so that abuse has a legal covering.
There has been a struggle for years in the US as to the legality of employing federal troops as a substitute for local and state police work. This has become very pronounced with COVID-19 and the current protests, for while it can be necessary for the federal government to step in, they have been stepping in a lot, and with more aggression than in the past.
This does not mean that people involved in these protests should not be brought to justice, or that it may require extraordinary measures to do this. But rather, the question should be why these protests were allowed to get out of control and continue to the extent that they have, especially considering how the US has a violent history of stamping down hard on anybody who even poses a mild threat by way of protests or marches to the continuity of government. As we have noted, it is not that the US lacks the power to enforce law, but that it seems the protests are being permitted and encouraged as a part of a strategy of tension to anger people and compel them to fight so as to justify more intervention from the government against them.
What I speak of here is the blurring of lines between the traditional hierarchy of enforcement that has existed. We have already seen this in other areas of society, such as with President Trump’s delusional idea that he can go “directly to the Supreme Court” without having to go through the legal process that all people are required to. This “straight to the top” approach, while it may be “effective” in certain ways, ultimately erodes the system of checks and balances set up to prevent this from happening, and the result is the creation of an authoritarian-type system centrally controlled and run with an iron fist as it exists in many countries.
I don’t want to say that the Federal government has no place- they certainly do -or that sometimes difficult circumstances require extra measures. But the danger is that, as we are seeing, if what is an exception becomes “normalized”, then it will lead eventually to more “exceptions”, and with enough time the entire approach to life changes without people so much as wondering how it ever happened, when it was taking place all the while by increment.