Police near the White House during George Floyd protests. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Immigration agents have been deployed to assist federal, state and local law enforcement amid intensifying protests over the police killing of George Floyd, immigration agency officials confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Local protests in cities across the U.S., a number of which have turned violent, have incited a strong federal response from agencies including the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — and President Trump himself.

  • Over the past few days, ICE and CBP agents have been deployed to help the Federal Protective Service guard buildings and facilities where protests have erupted.
  • While ICE does not carry out immigration enforcement at protests, both ICE and CBP officers have the authority to conduct criminal arrests, ICE and CBP officials told Axios.
  • Several local jurisdictions and states have requested the agencies' assistance in the face of protests, including D.C. and Minneapolis, ICE officials said. It is not uncommon for ICE to assist local law enforcement during certain emergencies.

Neither ICE nor CBP was able to provide details on the number of agents or other resources they have deployed.

  • "It would not be appropriate to disclose law enforcement operational specifics which could jeopardize operational security," CBP spokesperson Stephanie Malin said in a statement.
  • ICE "fully respects the rights of all people to peacefully express their opinions," ICE spokesperson Danielle Bennet sent in an e-mail.

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Justice Department to send federal agents to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee

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The Justice Department plans to divide nearly 100 federal agents between Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee in an expansion of "Operation Legend," launched last month to fight a "surge of violent crime" in U.S. cities, the agency announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Democrats have accused President Trump of cracking down on Democratic-run cities as part of a "law and order" message he is stressing as core to his re-election campaign. Attorney General Bill Barr insisted at a hearing on Tuesday that the decisions to surge federal agents to certain cities are "based on neutral criteria."

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Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

The death toll from Tuesday's explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has now surpassed 130, including at least one U.S. citizen, amid a search for answers as to why a huge store of ammonium nitrate was left unsecured near the city's port for nearly seven years.

What we know: The government says around 5,000 people are injured. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said current indications are that the massive explosion was accidental, despite President Trump's puzzling claim on Tuesday evening that it appeared to be a bomb attack.