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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Opposes Federal Agents’ Reach into American Cities
July 20, 2020

Human Rights First Opposes Federal Agents’ Reach into American Cities

WASHINGTON — Last week in Portland, OR, federal agents in unmarked uniforms from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Coast Guard, under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protection Service (FPS) began taking some activists into custody without explanation.   

Today, President Trump is discussing sending similar federal forces to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland, CA.   

Michael Breen, President and CEO of Human Rights First responded with this statement:   

"Sending federal officers dressed like soldiers into American cities to silence people exercising their constitutional rights to free expression and assembly is a red line the administration crossed in Washington in June, only to be humiliated and retreat.

"The president seems intent for federal agencies to cross it again in cities across America, just as they did last week in Portland.

"When border agents are grabbing demonstrators from the streets of our cities, treating Americans as enemy combatants, our democracy is in serious jeopardy.

"This is dangerous territory for any country, and especially concerning that it is happening in the United States.

"As the leader of a human rights organization that works on asylum issues, I’d also point out that if this is how ICE and CBP agents treat Americans, whose rights are enshrined in our Constitution, it should surprise no one how poorly they treat immigrants who are less able to assert their rights."