ICE and CBP monitor Protests of George Floyd's Death
These two agencies of the Department of Homeland Security are monitoring numerous protests across the country.
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While the mass protests over the death of George Floyd have taken on different levels, some peaceful and others escalating into violence to degrees that the U.S. had not seen in years, the response of the authorities has been variable.
Yesterday, for example, Minnesota's Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced that they will begin an extensive investigation of Minneapolis police practices and policies over the past ten years, as reported by NPR.
On the other hand, the White House's response appears to be to put out fire with fire, and acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan announced on a twitt that they would be sending agents and officers and even aviation assets to protests that turn into riots.
CBP is currently deploying officers, agents and aviation assets across the country at the request of our federal, state and local partners confronting the lawless actions of rioters. @CBP carries out its mission nationwide, not just at the border, consistent with federal laws. pic.twitter.com/dTa9EStiaf— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) May 31, 2020
The presence of ICE agents has also been confirmed by Axios, which contacted agents from both CBP and ICE.
While the ICE spokesperson contacted by Axios insisted that the agency respect the rights of the protesters - including the right to protest and free speech - and that it will not carry out immigration operations during the protests, both ICE and CBP have the power to make arrests.
The presence of ICE and CBP makes the participation of the immigrant community in the current protests more complex because even if they do not conduct immigration raids, an arrest could result in a DACA recipient losing DACA privileges or potentially putting someone close to them in a vulnerable position.
Meanwhile, with President Trump threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy military forces to quell the protests, both Defense Secretary Mark Esper –even at the possibility of putting his position at risk– and Democratic leaders in Congress have spoken out against the measure.