U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. About Us
  3. Site Links
  4. Archived
  5. News Archive
  6. Myth vs. Fact: 50+ Nights of Violence, Chaos, and Anarchy in Portland, Oregon

Archived Content

In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

Myth vs. Fact: 50+ Nights of Violence, Chaos, and Anarchy in Portland, Oregon

Release Date: July 27, 2020

Myth: The Trump Administration deployed federal troops to the streets of Portland.


  • The DHS personnel sent to protect federal facilities in Portland are sworn civilian federal law enforcement officers, not active duty military personnel.
  • Reports indicating otherwise are irresponsible and inaccurate.

Myth: Protests in Portland were peaceful until the DHS expanded its presence and instigated violence.


  • Downtown Portland has seen over 50 straight nights of criminal violence perpetrated by anarchists targeting city and federal properties and those that inhabit them. On July 3rd, before the surge of DHS law enforcement officers to Portland, Mayor Wheeler said the violence had “been going on for more than a month now” and called for the “nightly violence” to end.
  • The Portland Police Department has declared a riot on numerous occasions because of the nightly violence, which occurred well before the federal presence increased in early July.

Myth: Federal officers have not been invited by state or local officials; policing Portland is a local responsibility.


  • Enforcing federal law is not by invitation.  The FBI, DEA, ATF, and other federal law enforcement agencies do not require local requests from communities to enforce federal law. 
  • Federal law clearly states that DHS has the authority to protect federal property and arrest criminals who damage federal property or attack federal officers.
  • Local and state leaders have prohibited the Portland police from enforcing laws that could bring this violence to an end.

Myth: DHS is acting outside of its jurisdiction in Portland.


  • Federal law, in particular 40 U.S.C. § 1315, clearly states that the Secretary of Homeland Security “shall protect the buildings, grounds, and property that are owned, occupied, or secured by the Federal Government.”
  • Federal officers have been protecting the courthouse in downtown Portland since it was built 1997.

Myth: Federal officers are not allowed to arrest suspected criminals outside of federal grounds.


  • 40 U.S.C. § 1315 explicitly states that DHS may “conduct investigations, on and off the property in question, of offenses that may have been committed against property owned or occupied by the Federal Government or persons on the property.”
  • Acting in conjunction with the Department of Justice, DHS law enforcement officers are expressly authorized to leave federal property to conduct investigations and arrest individuals who have damaged federal property or attacked federal agents.

Myth: Unidentified federal officers are arresting people in Portland.


  • DHS officers are clearly identifiable as law enforcement officers.
  • Federal law enforcement officers in Portland and cities across America wear uniforms that clearly identify themselves as “POLICE.” Moreover, all uniforms contain other insignia that identifies their units or team.
  • In Portland, officers are not wearing name tags because of doxing attacks against law enforcement officers, which threaten the safety of not only our officers but also of their families.
  • In the absence of individual names, each officer wears a unique identifier.

Myth: DHS is infringing upon the rights of peaceful protestors.


  • DHS will always protect peaceful protesters in service to the Constitution and the American people.
  • Unfortunately, violent criminal activity is occurring in Portland. Between the hours of midnight and 5:00 am every morning, well-organized criminal acts of violence and destruction of property (federal, public, and private) are taking place.
  • These criminal anarchists have attempted to burn down and cause extreme damage to the federal courthouse and harm to law enforcement officers.

Myth: The DHS presence in Portland is unnecessary.


  • The persistent mob violence in Portland every night and the failure of city officials to maintain law and order necessitate DHS’ increased presence.
  • DHS law enforcement officers are there to protect a symbol of justice, the courthouse, along with federal property and personnel.
  • This is mostly done from a defensive posture.
  • Because of a lack of state and local leadership, DHS law enforcement officers have been forced to take measures such as making arrests in order to protect our officials and federal property.

Myth: Federal forces are invading in multiple US cities including Portland and Chicago.


  • Portland and Chicago are completely different situations.
  • In Portland, what we see is almost two months of coordinated violent attacks by anarchists against a federal courthouse and the federal law enforcement officers sworn to protect it. Other federal property in other cities is being protected by both federal and local law enforcement.
  • In Chicago, what we see is an unprecedented rise in crime against fellow citizens.
  • The DHS mission in Portland is to protect federal property. In Chicago, the mission is to assist DOJ in protecting the public from violent crime on the streets.
Last Updated: 02/05/2021
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content