President Donald Trump announced Wednesday a "surge" of federal forces to cities around the country as part of Operation Legend: an initiative to reduce violent crime in several cities across the country.
President Trump announced the Department of Defense will immediately send federal law enforcement agents to Chicago and Albuquerque. He said offices and agents from several federal agencies will head to Chicago to help local efforts. He said officers were headed to other cities, but only mentioned those two cities by name on Wednesday.
He also announced $61M available in grants for municipalities to hire officers as part of Operation Legend. "We will not defund the police, we will hire more great police," President Trump said.
On July 8, Attorney General William Barr launched the initiative by sending federal agents to Kansas City, where violent crime is up 40% since last year. At least 100 murders have taken place in the city so far this year.
Among those murdered in Kansas City was 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was killed by a bullet as he slept in his bed. Operation Legend is named for him. LeGend's family attended Wednesday's press conference and shared their endorsement of Operation Legend.
"We want justice for our son, and for others," LeGend's mother, Charron Powell, said at Wednesday's press conference. "Operation Legend is not to harm, harrass ... it's to solve crimes."
Barr said Operation Legend is the result of more than a year of work to create anti-crime task forces in large cities around the country. He said these officers are "classic crime fighters" and are not part of efforts to protect federal property.
However, not all cities have been receptive to the Trump administration's plan. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has signaled she would not welcome the agents, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has threatened to file a lawsuit to keep the agents out.
On Wednesday, mayors from 13 major U.S. cities signed a letter asking Barr and Acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf to remove the agents from their cities.
The Trump administration has already deployed federal agents to the streets of Portland in the hopes of quelling anti-police brutality protests in the city. The agents' presence in the city has ratcheted up the intensity of protests in recent days, as agents have deployed tear gas and have been seen hitting and punching protesters.
According to Customs and Border Patrol, its agents were sent to Portland as part of President Donald Trump's executive order aimed at protecting monuments and statues — not as a part of Operation Legend.