EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A federal agency is denying rumors that it was looking for unauthorized immigrants as it mobilized agents to assist in the investigation of Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said its officers and special agents responded to the scene “of an unprecedented and horrific event” in El Paso as did many other law-enforcement agencies.
“Despite false rumors to the contrary, ICE does not conduct immigration enforcement operations during tragedies like the one that recently impacted El Paso, Texas,” the agency said in a news release on Sunday. “This is not a time to compound one tragedy upon another by spreading fear in our community with false rumors of ICE operations. Instead, we must stand as one community to focus on aiding the victims and their families.”
Agency officials said that all ICE operations are targeted based on investigative leads and are not random. They said it’s not unusual for ICE to routinely assist local authorities after a tragedy.
ICE also avoids enforcement activities at sensitive locations — such as hospitals, schools or churches — unless they have specific approval from supervisors.
The agency did not specify where the rumors were coming from.