BLM protest Portland.jpg

A demonstrator shouts slogans using a bullhorn next to a group of military veterans during a Black Lives Matter protest Sunday, July 26, at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland.

PORTLAND— The mayors of six U.S. cities appealed Monday to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarized federal agents to cities that don’t want them, even as the Trump administration is considering sending more of them to Portland.

“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque and Washington D.C. wrote to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate.

Early Monday, U.S. agents repeatedly fired what appeared to be tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls at protesters outside the federal courthouse in downtown in Portland. Some protesters had climbed over the fence surrounding the courthouse, while others shot fireworks, banged on the fence and projected lights on the building.

President Donald Trump said Monday on Twitter that the federal properties in Portland “wouldn’t last a day” without the presence of the federal agents.

Homeland Security is considering sending about 50 additional Customs and Border Protection agents to Portland, according to an administration official. The plan has not been finalized and it’s not clear if the officers would be replacing the officers on the ground.

The Trump administration says the forces are needed in Portland to protect the courthouse and other federal buildings. But the mayors said the officers have patrolled areas distant from the federal properties and arrested citizens without cause.

The mayors said they support legislative efforts to require notice and consultation with and consent from local authorities before deployments; require visible identification at all times on federal agents and vehicles unless on an undercover mission authorized by the local U.S. Attorney; and impose limitations on federal agents’ crowd control activities to protecting federal property.

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