U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) recently raised concerns regarding a rise in the number of assaults on federal law enforcement officers and government facilities.
The legislators forwarded correspondence this week to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the matter, citing violence at a federal courthouse and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Portland, Ore.
Portman and Katko are urging DHS to develop plans to deter and address the threats.
“As you know, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has the statutory authority and obligation to ‘protect the buildings, grounds, and property that are owned, occupied, or secured by the Federal Government . . . and the persons on the property,” Portman and Katko wrote.
The legislators requested information from DHS focusing on specific steps the agency is taking to assess the potential for attacks on federal buildings, discourage violence against federal law enforcement officers and implement civil disturbances at federal facilities response plans.
“The First Amendment right to peaceably assemble is one of the foundations of American democracy,” the lawmakers noted. “Administration officials, Members of Congress, and law enforcement officers serving within your ranks have all taken the same oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We advocate for the right of every American ‘peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ Any violent attack on our nation’s law enforcement, however, is an attack on the rule of law and directly impacts the safety and security of all Americans.”