U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is blaming “political rhetoric and misinformation” for a shooting that targeted a Texas ICE office Tuesday.
“Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts,” Daniel Bible of ICE in San Antonio said in a statement. “ICE officers put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe. This disturbing public discourse shrouds our critical law enforcement function and unnecessarily puts our officers’ safety at risk.”
The FBI is investigating Tuesday’s shooting into the San Antonio ICE office. No one was injured. There has been no arrest.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year said ICE is running “concentration camps” at the southern border. Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, have called for abolishing ICE.
Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, an advocate of legal and limited immigration, said, “It’s hard to deny the tone of public conversation about contentious issues like immigration is getting out of hand. It’s bordering on hysteria.”
Last month in Washington state, a man was killed while attacking an immigration jail. The 69-year-old man threw Molotov cocktails at the ICE building, according to police.
In Massachusetts, ICE agents have found themselves at odds with local law enforcement officials and politicians.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has charged a state judge with obstruction for allegedly helping an illegal immigrant evade ICE agents. Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins and Middlesex DA Marian Ryan later sued to keep ICE agents out of state courthouses.
Rollins did not respond to a request for comment on the ICE statement. Ryan responded with a statement saying, “Violent actions are never an appropriate response. The act of firing into a building is a dangerous act often used to intimidate and threaten. Today’s shooting put federal employees in a potentially life threatening situation and those actions should be condemned.”
Pressley at a House hearing last month said women had been “torn apart from their babies and thrown in cages for seeking asylum, a legal right.” Pressley did not respond to a request for comment.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s running for president, has said ICE should be replaced, citing “The President’s deeply immoral actions” on immigration. Warren did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition said its members “never condone violence against anyone, nor do we condone any rhetoric that incites violence.”
“There are people of ill will who actively instigate hate, mainly against immigrants and people of color, and we’re deeply concerned about that,” MIRAC’s Marion Davis said in a statement. “It’s dangerous and needs to stop, for everyone’s safety. That said, there’s a huge difference between inciting violence, and speaking out against policies and actions that dehumanize our communities.”
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