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Katko, Portman Call for DHS Action in Response to Rising Violence at Federal Buildings

May 5, 2021

Katko, Portman Call for DHS Action in Response to Rising Violence at Federal Buildings

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, are raising concerns about the increasing number of assaults targeting federal law enforcement officers and government facilities in the United States.

In a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Katko and Portman cited recent violence at a federal courthouse and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Portland, Oregon, and called on the Secretary to develop plans to deter and respond to these 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,’” wrote Katko and Portman.

“The First Amendment right to peaceably assemble is one of the foundations of American democracy. 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,” they continued. “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.”

Katko and Portman concluded by requesting information on the specific steps DHS is taking to assess the potential for attacks on federal buildings, deter violence against federal law enforcement officers, and implement plans to respond to civil disturbances at federal facilities.

Read the full letter here.