July 21, 2020

Udall, Heinrich Announce Legislation To Block Federal Paramilitary Deployment To American Cities

WASHINGTON – In response to heavily armed, unmarked federal forces in unmarked vehicles grabbing protestors off the streets in Portland, Oregon, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), are helping introduce the bicameral Preventing Authoritarian Policing Tactics on America’s Streets Act.

The legislation would block the Trump administration from deploying federal law enforcement as a shadowy paramilitary against Americans, over the objections of state and local leaders. Senators Udall and Heinrich are also cosponsoring the legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

“Congress needs to take immediate action to rein in the Trump administration as it abuses its authority over federal forces, violates constitutional rights, and further divides and inflames our nation,” said Udall. “All Members of Congress should be disturbed that federal law enforcement officers are shooting unarmed protestors with projectiles, that officers are grabbing people off the streets and putting them into unmarked vans, and that officers used batons to beat a non-violent Navy veteran protestor on video. These chaotic and violent deployments, over the objections of state and local leaders, do not reflect the values of a democratic nation. The situation in Portland, Oregon needs to be deescalated and stopped immediately. And these operations should not be expanded to Albuquerque – period. Our liberties and freedoms define us as a nation – Congress must step in to protect them immediately.” 

“The footage coming out of Portland, Oregon, should be deeply disturbing to every single American. Let me be clear – this is not law enforcement. This is fascism,”said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Both President Trump and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security need to be held accountable for these illegal and unconstitutional actions and Congress must step in. That is why I am proud to help introduce this bicameral legislation to put a stop to this dangerous behavior and keep the president from ever even considering this in the streets of New Mexico.”

The legislation, led by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), would:

  1. Require individual and agency identification on uniforms of officers and prevent unmarked vehicles from being used in arrests.
  2. Limit federal agents’ crowd control activities to federal property and its immediate vicinity, unless their presence is specifically requested by both the mayor and governor.
  3. Require disclosure on an agency website within 24 hours of deployments specifying the number of personnel and purposes of deployment.
  4. Make arrests in violation of these rules unlawful.

The full text of the Senate NDAA amendment can be found here.