WASHINGTON— Over the past week, federal law enforcement officers without any identifiable insignia—later identified as CBP—have detained protesters in Portland, Oregon as protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd have continued. The Department of Homeland Security is using an executive order to protect statues, monuments, and federal property as a legal rationale for the use of force. In response, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“What’s happening in Portland should concern us all and is an example of what could befall other American cities under the Trump Administration’s commitment to stifling First Amendment-protected rights in this country. The use of unidentified secret police to enforce ‘order’ is unconstitutional, dangerous, and a serious violation of civil rights. For years, DHS has unleashed ICE and border patrol on immigrant families, and now they’ve set their sights on American citizens.
“Donald Trump will stop at nothing to distract from his complete failure to combat COVID-19 and address the racial inequities that sparked these latest political protests—even if it means flouting the law in the process. These are the actions of an insecure dictator, not the President of the United States and this dangerous abuse of power is a chilling precedent for future actions. I join my Congressional colleagues in demanding an investigation into these actions in Portland and urge Trump to end his relentless attacks on America’s cities.
“This dangerous militarized overstep demonstrates precisely why many of us in Congress continue to call for a reduction in the DHS budget. As we consider appropriations in Congress this week and next, we must ensure there are no blank checks for these violations of our civil liberties.”