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Chicago Mayor: City Intends to Cooperate as Trump Sends Federal Agents

FILE - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a news conference in front of Wrigley Field in Chicago, April 16, 2020.
FILE - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a news conference in front of Wrigley Field in Chicago, April 16, 2020.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday the city intends to cooperate with federal law enforcement agents President Donald Trump is sending there, according to The Chicago Tribune. Trump’s plan comes days after federal agents in Portland, Oregon, sparked opposition among that city’s officials.

An official speaking on a condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that Trump was planning to deploy about 150 agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Chicago to aid local law enforcement with a spike in crime.

Protesters march around Chicago's City Hall on June 17, 2020.
Protesters march around Chicago's City Hall on June 17, 2020.

The agents will be from the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arm of the DHS, usually tasked with investigations into human trafficking, drug and weapons smuggling and immigration. Though it is not clear how the agents will support local law enforcement, they will make arrests for federal, not local, crimes.

Chicago has seen 414 homicides this year, compared with 275 during the same period last year. Over the weekend, 63 people were shot, 12 fatally, across the city. On Monday, 25 people were shot, with 3 fatally injured.

U.S. Representative Chuy Garcia strongly opposed Trump’s plans to send federal agents to Chicago, in a statement issued Tuesday morning.

“Trump’s abuse of power and overreach of federal authority are just the latest examples of his desperate attempts to distract us from his failed handling of the coronavirus,” the congressman stated.

Lightfoot said Tuesday the city welcomed “actual partnership” and not “dictatorship,” echoing a letter she wrote Monday in response to Trump’s offers for federal assistance to the city.

“Despite the misplaced and incendiary rhetoric from you and your staff which is divisive and unhelpful, I will take you at your word that you want to assist the City in its effort to reduce violence so I will be specific about what we need from the federal government to make us safer,” Lightfoot wrote.

The Chicago mayor outlined the necessity to address common-sense gun safety reform, public safety support, community-based outreach for violence interventions and investing in the community.

“What we do not need, and what will certainly make our community less safe is secret, federal agents deployed to Chicago,” Lightfoot stated in reference to federal agents in Portland.

Lightfoot finished her letter with strong emphasis on partnership and respect for all people in Chicago.

Partnership includes respect that you have not shown our residents as of late in mocking the level of violence that challenges Chicagoans,” Lightfoot wrote. “Please stop with the rhetoric and find the moral courage to simply support the needed actions listed above.”

It is not clear if Trump’s plan to send HSI agents to Chicago is a component of Operation Legend, an initiative announced by Attorney William Barr on July 8. The initiative intends to have federal law enforcement agencies “working in conjunction” with state and local law enforcement officials “to fight the sudden surge of violent crime.” The operation is to begin in Kansas City.

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