We just had a horrible massacre of a bunch of innocent children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas. Most of the victims were about 10 years old, all from one classroom apparently. The horror of a moment like this is impossible to imagine. It’s every parents worst nightmare.
Uvalde is a majority Hispanic town which means something like 80-90% of the kids in Robb Elementary School are Hispanic. It’s very possible that some of the parents of those kids may not be here legally. At the same time, Uvalde is a town not far from the Texas border and is home to a lot of people who work for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It’s almost certain that some of the kids at Robb Elementary have parents who work for either CBP or ICE.
I say all of that because when word went out yesterday that there was an active shooter at the local elementary school, some of the first people to arrive were CBP agents. And it’s a good thing they did because an off-duty CBP agent entered the school and killed the shooter. I mentioned this in an update yesterday but today we know a bit more.
The agent, a member of CBP’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), rushed into the school while the shooter was still active and began exchanging rounds with the gunman, who was barricaded inside a fourth-grade classroom, NBC and Fox reported.
The officer was injured during the shooting but he managed to “eliminate the threat” and kill the shooter before he could commit more carnage, law enforcement sources told NBC.
Marsha Espinosa, the DHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs, tweeted about this yesterday and said this agent and two other law enforcement officers put themselves between the shooter and children.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to a law enforcement request for assistance re an active shooter situation inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Upon entering the building, Agents & other law enforcement officers faced gun fire from the subject, who was barricaded inside.
— Marsha (Catron) Espinosa (@MCatronDHS) May 25, 2022
At least one Border Patrol Agent was wounded by the shooter during the exchange of gunfire. On-and-off duty Border Patrol Agents arrived on the scene to assist with transferring students safely to their families and providing medical support.
— Marsha (Catron) Espinosa (@MCatronDHS) May 25, 2022
That’s what happened. But the story being spread by a surprising number of people on the left is completely different. As Karen pointed out, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem announced yesterday that immigration enforcement in the area needed to be suspended. She implied that immigration agents were a threat to the community (rather than part of it). On Twitter someone named Eoin (Owen) Higgins who writes for the Intercept tweeted his disgust that ICE agents had shown up at the scene.
The implication here is that ICE intentionally went to the scene of a mass shooting looking to round up parents. Of course you can always find some person on Twitter saying something stupid, but in this case it’s a guy with nearly 80,000 followers. And notice there are more than 220,000 likes on this comment and 40,000 retweets. I looked through some of the nearly 5,000 quote tweets and most of them were people denouncing America and demanding we Abolish ICE because how dare they target mourning parents. But as Jesse Singal pointed out, there’s no evidence any of this is true.
2/ Of course “DHS says it isn’t happening” doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, but again, Higgins didn’t post any evidence whatsoever — nor has anyone else, as far as I can tell. The claim went super viral solely on the basis of how awful it is. https://t.co/QFR1YhM9DA
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 25, 2022
As he points out, DHS issue a statement this morning clarifying that it wasn’t true.
ICE and CBP provide emergency assistance to individuals regardless of their immigration status. DHS officials do not and will not pose as individuals providing emergency-related information as part of any enforcement activities.
The site of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas is a protected area. To the fullest extent possible, ICE and CBP will not conduct immigration enforcement activities there so that individuals, regardless of immigration status, can seek assistance, reunify with family and loved ones, and otherwise address the tragedy that occurred.
The insinuation that ICE was there targeting parents stayed up for more than 16 hours. Finally, as I was reading through the responses, Higgins deleted it. He explained why in response to a question from Matt Taibbi:
Based on reports at the time, but looking at it now seems that it was BORTAC—deleted.
ICE on scene now, at least, but apparently not enforcing immigration law:https://t.co/3VxLe8EAsz
— ℮oin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) May 25, 2022
Again, I don’t care about Higgins but it’s amazing to me that so many people were eager to believe the very worst without any evidence. I’m sure if you could ask them they are all the same people concerned about misinformation on social media but it didn’t stop them from being part of it in this case.
So you have this chasm between what happened (ICE and CBP agents who live in the area rushed to the scene to help in any way they could) and what people on the left assumed had happened (that ICE agents were sent to round up mourning parents). In their minds, immigration agents were villains preying on the vulnerable. In reality, one of the off-duty agents was the first to enter the building and killed the gunman despite being shot himself.
I really hope all of the people who jumped on this particular bandwagon think about it for at least a little while. When you leap to believe that the people who acted heroically to stop evil are themselves the villains, maybe you are the problem.