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DHS Agencies Preparing For Potential Civil Unrest Surrounding Election Day

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Two immigration agencies under the Department of Homeland Security are planning for possible civil unrest in relation to the general election, CNN reported Monday.

Federal and local officials are reportedly working together to get ready for possible large-scale protests, according to CNN. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will have personnel on standby the week of the election and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been training personnel, according to agency officials.

“We have teams ready to go as needed,” Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said, CNN reported. He added, “we don’t have any specific intelligence that suggests any particular threat of violence.”

MEDIA

The deployment of federal officials in major cities to mitigate protests drew criticism that the DHS was becoming politicized under the Trump administration, CNN reported. Trump administration officials said the deployments were in response to inaction by local officials.

Local officials in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., said the presence of federal officials inflamed protests, CNN reported. Local officials and protesters criticized federal officials for not clearly displaying badges. 

CBP and ICE tactical teams are preparing to deploy to aid law enforcement if necessary, CNN reported. ICE personnel will help guard federal buildings so that local law enforcement can respond to potential crowd control issues, a senior ICE official said, according to CNN.

In a “volatile time it is standard practice” to say, “let’s run the hoops — what it would take, name ‘this location’ and what kind of force, how many people, what would it cost and how long would it take to get there,” a CBP official said, CNN reported.

CBP previously helped local law enforcement respond to Rodney King protests in 1992, CNN reported. The agency prepared to support local law enforcement when the Breonna Taylor case was announced, though they did not end up being deployed.

CBP is “on standby all the time” due to “the size and frequency of what we are seeing,” another official said, CNN reported. “Training has been focused on de-escalation tactics, constitutional rights and crowd control.”

Officials are reportedly preparing for protests regardless of the outcome of the election, though they expect larger protests to occur in major Democratic cities if President Donald Trump is reelected, CNN reported. Officials are also preparing for the possibility that a winner might not be declared on Nov. 4.

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