Recent BLM protests in various cities (including in my town of Bend, Oregon) have brought further into light the proliferation of federal law enforcement agencies. During the Portland protests, great concern was raised over the virtually anonymous agents tasked to respond by the federal government. We couldn’t tell who they were or which agency they worked for. After some probing by the media, several law enforcement agencies have been involved, including ICE, CBP, and, shockingly, the National Park Police. Can you imagine being a park police officer and being sent to some city to quell riots? That’s not what they signed up for, I imagine. And why is CBP operating so far away from the border?
I’d like the roles of federal law enforcement agencies clarified and limited. Park police should not operate outside the parks; CBP should stick to the borders. Some probably don’t need to exist as separate agencies. ATF and DEA, for example. How about we just empower the Federal Marshals and FBI to enforce all federal laws? In concert with state law enforcement agencies, of course.
In a similar vein, I’d like to see the role of military and quasi-military forces clarified. Specifically, I’d like to see the Posse Comitatus Act amended to exclude the exception involving the Insurrection Act (which should have been repealed a long time ago). The president should not have the power to interpret domestic unrest situations so liberally as to allow deployment of US armed forces where there is no need, as Trump has. I’d like to see an exception to provide for the governor of a state to request help from the US military but only to supplement that state’s national guard. In other words, the US troops would be under the command of the governor, not the president.
Finally, and in a different vein, I’d like to see restrictions put in place regarding deployment of National Guard and Coast Guard units overseas. The national guards of the various states should be tasked with helping out in their state only, or a neighboring state if that state’s governor requests it. There should be no sending guard units to fight in Iraq or anywhere else. Similarly, the US Coast Guard should be restricted to protecting the coastline of the US. I’m pretty sure a lot of young Americans have considered guard duty because of a desire to serve the citizens of their state but were deterred by the mass deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. If the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines need help fighting a war, implement the draft.