PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will send a surge of federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to tamp down on violent crime in what is the administration’s latest effort to intervene in local law enforcement as Trump continues to tout a “law and order” message ahead of the November election.

The deployment of federal forces comes amid sustained protests against racism and police brutality, and calls from some to shift some funding away from police departments and toward social services and other community programs.

It also coincides with widespread criticism of the actions of militarized federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security in Portland, Oregon. The forces in Portland, which have been tasked with protecting a federal courthouse, have used force against protestors and used unmarked vehicles to detain demonstrators. Videos show the federal forces, outfitted in tactical gear, beating and using tear gas on protestors.

In a press conference Wednesday announcing the move, Trump said the government had “no choice but to get involved” in cities where crime has risen. Trump has repeatedly cast Democrats as being weak on crime and voiced his continued support for robust law enforcement in the face of nationwide protests. Chicago and other cities led by Democrats have been a frequent target of his.

The deployment of agents to Chicago and Albuquerque is an expansion of the “Operation Legend” program, which first began in Kansas City, Missouri, this summer. It is not unusual for the federal government to send federal agents to specific cities to aid law enforcement, but the scope of the planned deployments is atypical. Barr announced a similar effort in seven cities in December.

The Department of Justice will send more than 100 investigators from several agencies to Chicago, and another 100 U.S. Marshals in the region will direct operations within the city. DHS will also assign at least 100 agents already stationed in Chicago to the program. Those agents will focus on gangs, narcotics trafficking, firearm trafficking and other violent crime.

In Albuquerque, the DOJ will send 25 investigators from various agencies to work with local law enforcement, and up to 10 agents from DHS will also assist. ReadMore..