July 28, 2020 IN: Immigration, National, Press Room
AAPI Organizations Denounce Trump’s Deployment of Federal Agents in Portland
Hundreds of federal agents escalate police brutality against protesters
Washington, DC – President Trump has deployed hundreds of militarized federal agents, including many from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in response to protests in Portland over the police killing of George Floyd against the wishes of state and local officials. Displaying blatant abuses of power, militarized federal officers have indiscriminately fired at protestors exercising their constitutional rights to assemble and have forcibly thrown them into unmarked vehicles without explanation. The Trump administration now plans to deploy about 150 Homeland Security agents to Chicago in the coming days, further enabling the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand outside the scope of our immigration system and use resources to deny protesters of their First Amendment rights.
“We condemn this president’s aggressive tactics to escalate policing through abusive federal agent deployment in cities that are protesting the death of George Floyd,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “Portland is not a testing ground; immigrants have long been subjected to DHS’s history of arrests by unidentified agents in unmarked vans. These kinds of abusive tactics will continue if the department is not divested and held accountable. Firing tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds of demonstrators will lead to more violence, chaos, and unrest. Rather than funding paramilitary operations that distract from the Administration’s botched COVID-19 response, our country must invest resources into communities that are struggling during this current health crisis. SEARAC is committed to fighting back against divisiveness and standing together with our partners in solidarity with the Black community.”
Japanese American Citizens League Executive Director David Inoue said, “We denounce the mobilization of federal agents in Portland, and now other cities, under the false pretense to address urban violence and crime. Our federal agents should not be used as political props to antagonize cities because the president does not like the mayor’s political party. The president is unnecessarily placing the lives of both the officers and civilians at risk through these incursions worthy of the world’s worst dictatorships.”
“The Trump Administration’s deployment of federal troops in Portland and cities across the country is a dangerous escalation of state violence that continues to distract from their abysmal failure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lakshmi Sridaran, executive director, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). “This Administration has unleashed violence on people of color on multiple levels — from deliberate mismanagement of a pandemic that has left nearly 150,000 people dead and has disproportionately impacted Black and brown communities, to the militarization of borders, and now by meeting anti-racist protests with militarized confrontations. Unfortunately, this is an unsurprising, but unconscionable scale of violence and anti-Black racism from our government that must come to an end.”
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) said, “Over the course of this Administration and throughout the pandemic, we have seen time and time again our people hurt at the hands of the government — police killings of Black and Brown folx, immigrants dying in detention due to COVID-19, and much more. President Trump’s deployment of federal agents in Portland is just another example of law and immigration enforcement’s role in targeting Black, brown, and immigrant communities. It is time to divest from law and immigration enforcement and invest in our communities.”