Portland has been the site of ongoing protests for more than 50 days that have turned violent, sparking outrage among local officials who have criticized the federal presence for aggravating the situation on the ground.
The CBP email shows that Border Patrol offices request teams of approximately 20-25 people. Specifically, the agency is seeking agents from a special unit that has received tactical training and can be called to deploy immediately when necessary. The email also calls agents from another Border Patrol unit that provides search and rescue response and intelligence personnel.
Given the length of the protests, the current list of federal officials should be replaced, the agency says.
“With the current operating time and hours that agents have been working, the need for additional assets and assistance is increasing,” says the email, adding that additional support has been requested for “the next 90 days.”
“The rotations allow for proper overlap that produces a smooth transition,” says the email. The email was sent in mid-July, according to a source familiar with the planning. CBP plans to cycle agents through Portland without a net increase in staff, according to another source familiar with the planning.
“CBP can confirm that additional personnel have been dispatched to Portland,” the agency said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday. “CBP remains fully committed to supporting Federal Protective Services’ request to protect federal buildings and properties. The additional staff will serve to maintain our current capabilities on the ground.”
For several nights, protests demanding racial justice and an end to the influx of federal resources into the city have turned violent as a small subgroup of protesters has set fire to and launched fireworks at the downtown federal courthouse.
Twenty-two people were arrested “for their papers” in protests over the weekend in Portland federal court, the Justice Department said Monday.
Portland city officials and members of the Trump administration continue to engage in a public war of words over who is to blame for the protesters’ actions.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has come under intense scrutiny by President Donald Trump, Wolf and others after weeks of protests in his city, is calling for an immediate meeting with the chief of Homeland Security and the leadership of the DHS.
Wheeler’s demand for a meeting signals a change in his previously entrenched public stance against reaching DHS.
“The agency took steps to identify up to 100 people to send to the Oregon District if needed to relieve or supplement deputies stationed permanently in the district. They can also be used to rotate with personnel already sent there to support operations. of the district during the civil unrest mission to ensure the function and security of court proceedings, “said spokesman Drew Wade.
The protests in Portland began largely after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. A city known for its robust and energetic activism quickly joined other communities across the country to take to the streets to demand racial justice and police accountability.
Portland is different, however, in that the protest movement took up another cause after Trump dispatched federal forces around the July 4 holiday to protect federal statues. That influx of federal agents was greeted with anger by many protesters, who viewed the movement as an attempt by the United States government to occupy their city.
Since then, a federal building in the city center has largely served as the epicenter of the ongoing, mostly peaceful protests, with periods of violence at night, as protesters continue to demand that the Trump administration remove federal officials from the city.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Monday that the presence of federal authorities in Portland “is not consistent” with the mission of the Department of Homeland Security.
Ridge, the department’s first leader, said the first words of the department’s vision statement he helped establish are “preserve our liberties.”
CNN’s Geneva Sands, Josh Campbell and Evan Perez contributed to this report.