A pair of Republican senators is calling on the federal government to designate the far-left organization Antifa as a domestic terror organization.
The resolution, which was introduced by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), notes recent Antifa violence against journalist Andy Ngo as well as threats against Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees and "calls for the groups and organizations across the country who act under the banner of Antifa to be designated as domestic terrorist organizations."
The legislation also "calls upon the Federal Government to redouble its efforts, using all available and appropriate tools, to combat the spread of all forms of domestic terrorism, including White supremacist terrorism."
The report also follows the news that an Antifa member armed with a rifle tried to firebomb an an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington. The resolution, however, does not mention the Tacoma attack.
"Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who 'fight fascism' with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege," Cassidy said in a news release. "Bullies get their way until someone says no. Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror."
"Antifa is a terrorist organization composed of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their extreme agenda through aggressive violence," Sen. Cruz said in a statement. "Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their central purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views. Like any terrorist organization they choose to pursue their political ends through violence, fear and intimidation. They must be stopped."
For reference, Title 18 of federal law defines domestic terrorism as "involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State," that occur primarily within the jurisdiction of the United States, and that "appear to be intended":
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence a state or federal government policy by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect such a government's conduct by "mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."
However, federal law does not have the same clear-cut designation for domestic terrorism organizations that it does for foreign terror organizations (FTOs), explained Andy McCarthy in a 2017 column at National Review.
"There are federal-law processes for designating foreign and international terrorism because defending against foreign threats to national security is primarily a federal responsibility," McCarthy explained, because foreign operatives have fewer civil rights protections than American citizens and that the best weapon against domestic terror is local law enforcement, not federal.
On the local front, the city of Portland, Oregon — where Ngo was recently attacked by Antifa members — is considering a ban on masked protesters in order to cut down on violence from the organization.