DHS officials touring battleground states to make the case for Trump — before the election: report
President Donald J. Trump congratulates Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Chad Wolf and his family, following Wolf’s ceremonial swearing-in by Vice President Mike Pence Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

On Thursday, TIME Magazine reported that Homeland Security officials have launched an unusual "publicity blitz" around the country that appears designed to help President Donald Trump make a final election push.


"As part of this push, top DHS and ICE leaders have traveled across the country to hold at least four press conferences this month in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Minnesota, shadowing the path of Trump’s rallies as he makes a last-minute appeal to voters there," reported Vera Bergengruen. "These public announcements by senior leaders ahead of the election, which former officials tell TIME are abnormal, if not unprecedented, have been held to publicize mostly routine immigration enforcement operations that would usually have been revealed with little fanfare."

"Instead, DHS and ICE officials have used them as a platform to aggressively make the case for the president’s immigration policies, often taking on a markedly Trumpian tone and echoing parts of his stump speech," continued the report. "At multiple events, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and his deputy Ken Cuccinelli have talked about immigrants taking American jobs, blasted Democrat-run sanctuary cities, touted 'America First' and warned of 'evil people who seek to travel to the United States with the intent of harming and killing Americans.'"

"Immigration lawyers and advocates have raised concerns the agency has also been timing other law enforcement actions for political purposes," said the report. "In September, ICE announced that 19 non-citizens in North Carolina had been charged with illegally voting in the 2016 election. ICE had made an almost identical announcement in August 2018, also charging a different group of 19 non-citizens with voter fraud, which carries a penalty of six years in federal prison and a $350,000 fine."

The watchdog group American Oversight has called for an investigation into whether these activities violate the Hatch Act, saying, "DHS is showing us a textbook example of why we have a federal law against government officials using their positions to support a political campaign." The Trump administration has faced repeated allegations of ignoring this law.