July 22 (UPI) — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his administration will deploy federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and Albuquerque to quell violence.
In a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Trump said he would expand the Justice Department program known as Operation Legend, sending officers from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to the cities.
“Today I am announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” Trump said.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after more than a dozen people were injured in a shooting at a funeral in Chicago on Tuesday night.
Trump on Wednesday said he had “no choice but to get involved” by sending federal officers to the cities.
“This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.”
On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that she would push back against efforts to send federal officers to the city.
“Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” Lightfoot wrote.
Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, both Democrats representing Illinois, also sent a letter to Trump declaring the deployment of federal agents unconstitutional.
“Any involvement by federal law enforcement in community policing activity must be conducted in coordination with, and with the approval of, local officials,” they wrote. “In this time of heightened tension, we cannot have federal law enforcement operating at cross-purposes with local leaders.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., compared Trump’s decision Wednesday to the deployment of federal officers in Portland, Ore., which has been met with legal challenges after protesters have been loaded into unmarked vans without arrest warrants.
“The U.S. Attorney for New Mexico informed me today that ‘Operation Legend’ is coming to Albuquerque,” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Given the mess it created in Portland, I let him know in no uncertain terms that this isn’t the kind of ‘help’ that Albuquerque needs.”