Dozens of officials are asking Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to reject President Donald Trump’s move to send approximately 150 federal agents to the city as part of a urban crime fighting strategy, but the mayor insisted that the moves are simply adding to existing infrastructure.
During a press availability Monday, Lightfoot said that the agents being sent to Chicago will not be used in the way that agents are being deployed in Portland, and that she has been “firm” in her stance against that type of show of force.
“If there was anything that happened like that, we would be making sure that we did everything possible to stop that in its tracks,” Lightfoot said. “These are not troops. Troops are people who come from the military. That’s not what’s coming to Chicago, and I’ve drawn a very firm line against that.”
The mayor said that the agents are expected to continue arriving in Chicago in the coming days as part of “Operation Legend,” which has already netted several arrests in the city.
Despite the mayor’s assurances, many officials are still skeptical about the program. More than 60 elected officials sent a letter to Lightfoot and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, asking that federal agents not be allowed to use city police or county sheriff property, staff or resources during their stay in Chicago.
“President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated both his callous disregard for Black, indigenous and immigrant lives, and his increasing inclination toward fascism and authoritarianism,” the letter read, in part.”
Lightfoot says that the additional agents are only coming to the city to assist agencies like the ATF, the DEA and FBI, among others.
“These agents have had offices in the city of Chicago for probably 50-plus years or longer,” she said. “They’re always actively engaged on a variety of different issues…so (they’re) adding to existing infrastructure that’s already been in place.”
Lightfoot says the agents will mostly focus on assisting police with gun, drug and gang cases, but is unsure of when the deployment of those agents will be completed.