After the El Paso, Tx. shooting that claimed the lives of 20 people and injured dozens of others in a Wal-Mart in the border city, some of those injured have been driving themselves home instead of going to the hospital out of fear of ICE agents.
“This is a concern,” Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of the Homeland Security Department, told CNN. “It’s clear there’s people who are not unifying with their family and that there are people they’re worried are injured that did not go to hospitals likely because of their immigration status.”
Kayyem said that El Paso officials confirmed that there would be no ICE agents at either hospitals or unification sites set up as safe places for families to find and connect with survivors of the terrorist act.
It’s no wonder immigrants are afraid of ICE agents in El Paso. Agents specifically in that city have been criticized for their heavy-handed tactics toward undocumented immigrants.
The El Paso Times reported in 2017 that ICE agents went into an El Paso County court room and arrested an undocumented woman who had received a protective order claiming that she was a victim of domestic violence.
The attack at Wal-Mart could potentially be considered a hate crime because of a manifesto posted online before the El Paso shooting by the gunman. The multi-page document said that “Hispanic invaders” were the motivation for the deadly attack.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen spoke about the manifesto and said it presented a “nexus to a potential hate crime,” CNN reported.
The gunman is a 21-year-old white man named Patrick Crusius from Allen, a suburb of Dallas about a 650-mile drive away. He is in police custody. Authorities are looking at potentially bringing capital murder charges against him.
The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the massacre. It will coincide with the state inquiry and Texas authorities will take the lead in the case, according to CNN.