The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities.
The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, according to sources familiar with the matter, though a specific plan on what the agents will be doing had not been made public.
One city official said the city was aware of the plan but not any specifics. The Chicago Police Department had no immediate comment.
One Immigration and Customs Enforcement official in Chicago, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, confirmed the deployment was expected to take place. The official noted that the HSI agents, who are part of ICE, would not be involved in immigration or deportation matters.
It was unclear where all the agents would be coming from, though many were expected to be from agencies operating in the Chicago area. Questions remained about the chain of command they would fall under.
Federal agents being used to confront street protesters in Portland, Oregon, has raised alarm in many circles. Chicago, too, has dealt with protests that have led to injuries in recent days.
At an unrelated news conference Monday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has great concerns about the general possibility of President Donald Trump sending feds to Chicago based on what has happened in Portland.
If Trump wants to help, she said, he could boost federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives resources and fully fund prosecutors.