The Department of Homeland Security has deployed heavily armed, unidentified agents in unmarked vehicles to attack protesters and to snatch people off the streets of Portland, without even telling them why, or where they are going. It’s happening, right now, in this country. Not yet in Portland, Maine, but in Portland, Oregon.

This abuse of power happens in authoritarian regimes like Pinochet’s Chile and Hitler’s Germany, not in free societies. But the Chicago Tribune and other reputable sources tell us that the Trump administration is planning the same for other major cities.

This terrorization of citizens is lawless and un-American. Citing this, the military resisted President Trump’s attempts to use it against our citizens in Washington, D.C. State and local police are at least subject to local control. However, Customs and Border Protection, run by federal appointees, is separate from the military and is independent of state and local governments.

It is ironic, given the Republican Party’s fondness for states’ rights, that conservatives aren’t screaming about this abuse of federal power. But they know that far-right anti-government “boogaloo boys” and Confederate-flag wavers who attack Black Lives Matter protesters won’t be subjected to this terrorism. And they’re showing their true colors: They really don’t care about our Constitution or our fragile democracy’s future.

A vote on funding for the DHS is coming up in the House next week. I urge Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden to push for the House to hold up funding for homeland security until these terrorist tactics are halted.

Deborah Paley

Portland

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