Portland, Oregon, may finally have gone off the deep end. Concerned about “immigrants’ rights,” the Portland City Council has voted to withdraw the city’s police department from the FBI-coordinated Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Following the vote, officers of the Portland Bureau of Police will no longer serve on the JTTF.
The JTTF was formed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, to improve information-sharing between federal and local law enforcement agencies. Representatives from federal agencies and local police departments work side-by-side, in regional JTTF offices, in order to improve the kind of face-to-face information sharing that is essential to finding and foiling terrorist plots. Regional JTTF units have dismantled a number of terror cells, including the “Portland Seven” (residents of Portland who attempted to join the Taliban).
As of December 23, 2015, the FBI had approximately 70 open terror investigations in the state of Oregon. The federal government has not published updated numbers since then but, given the ongoing strife in the Middle East, it is not likely to have dropped. Therefore, it may seem odd that Portland would choose to withdraw from a program intended to protect it from terrorism.
But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a major participant in the JTTF program. And Portland has been at the forefront of the sanctuary city movement, readily jumping on the “abolish ICE” bandwagon. In fact, Willamette Week proudly proclaimed, in a recent article, that, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Hates Portland.” The publication asserts that, “Portland has mastered the art of frustrating and confounding federal immigration officials.”.
However, it would be more accurate to say that the City of Portland hates ICE. This is, after all, the town where Antifa-style agitators surrounded ICE’s offices and overtly threatened the agency’s employees. How did the City of Roses respond? The mayor told the police not to intervene.
Portland has based its anti-ICE biases on the absurd fantasy that foreign nationals have an unfettered “human right” to enter and remain in the United States, when, and for as long as, they see fit. That, of course, is nonsense. And while ICE is responsible for removing immigration violators, it doesn’t fulfill this responsibility arbitrarily and capriciously. In fact, foreigners in U.S. Immigration Court get more due process than the average Frenchman gets in a Paris murder trial.
However, ICE is also responsible for interdicting terrorists and dismantling terror organizations. And it’s a key player in the JTTF’s because, “Foreign terrorists need to move money, weapons and people across international borders to conduct their operations, and ICE holds a unique set of law enforcement tools for disrupting these illicit activities.”
In a classic case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, Portland has now isolated itself from that unique set of law enforcement tools. And anyone who knows anything about how terrorist organizations work can easily guess what city has just become the most likely target for the next attack.