Under the guise of protecting federal property, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were among the federal agencies deployed in Operation Diligent Valor in Portland until the end of the month, per President Donald Trump’s executive order to secure a federal courthouse that had been vandalized by graffiti and otherwise damaged by protesters.
The use of ICE and CBP, of which the Border Patrol is a part, to guard federal buildings and conduct crowd control is a clear misuse of their authorities and outside their mission to secure the border. Yet, even though the federal government should never have deployed these agents in this way, there are reports that the Trump administration might be gearing up to (mis)use them again in other American cities, apparently having learned nothing from what happened in Portland.
The use of CBP, ICE and Border Patrol agents for domestic policing is particularly dangerous because of the ways immigration and customs officers can skirt the Constitution.
I was once a Border Patrol agent myself, and I urge my former colleagues to refuse to comply with these problematic orders rather than be complicit in the threat to the rule of law that they pose. We took an oath to do a different job entirely, and if the president can’t be counted on to use these agencies appropriately, agents themselves must do it for him.
Several types of federal law enforcement were dispatched to Portland, but the use of CBP, ICE and Border Patrol agents for domestic policing is particularly dangerous because of the ways immigration and customs officers can skirt the Constitution.
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