The FBI is trying to find whoever opened fire on two Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in San Antonio. The attack happened early Tuesday and, thankfully, didn’t injure anyone. FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs is pretty sure the shooter or shooters were purposefully targeting the offices.
“I don’t think there is a question that they knew which floor the ICE office is on,” he declared to reporters while expressing unease about future attacks. “To fire indiscriminately into any building is not an act of a protest but an act of violence.”
Interim USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli posted a picture taken from inside San Antonio’s ICE Offices.
— USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (@USCISCuccinelli) August 13, 2019
Combs also said bullets barely missed an ICE employee by several inches. His anger is obvious and justified. “These shootings were cowardly, brazen, violent acts, absolutely without justification and a threat to our entire community. An attempt to attack federal employees is a federal crime with serious consequences. The FBI will relentlessly pursue every lead in this case to find the individuals who are responsible.”
The shooter or shooters will hopefully be captured, charged, and punished. The violent act, along with the Washington state man who tried to bomb a Tacoma ICE facility, does nothing to help the foul stench of rhetoric circling this country about ICE. The coming onslaught of counter rhetoric from those who support the agency’s mission will also do nothing to help the discussion. Both sides will simply be emboldened to hurl literal and figurative bombs at one another like they were snowballs or, given the current heatwave baking the country, water balloons.
This isn’t saying ICE’s hands are unsullied like someone who has just taken a long shower. The agency deserves plenty of criticism for its methods on the border regardless if one wants to use the words “concentration camp” or a “humanitarian crisis.” The images of ICE-run family units are disconcerting no matter which White House administration was involved and the 100-mile border zone is quite problematic. The fact over 800 U.S. citizens in Texas ended up in ICE custody due to a failure of the agency to let them prove their citizenship is troublesome and alarming.
However, no one wants to have a real discussion about why ICE exists and the country’s current laws regarding who can and cannot immigrate. The argument is not along the lines of whether the Constitution, specifically Article I, Sections 8 and 9, prohibits the federal government from enacting immigration restrictions or if “uniform rule of naturalization” means an equal number of immigrants from every foreign country should get visas. It isn’t on the difficulty of securing a green card, either, or why frozen molasses moves quicker than the United States at approving visas.
Instead, politicians and pundits lock arms and butt heads over the symptoms of the problem. It’s far easier to generate campaign donations and gin up outrage if you’re vowing to “do something” over an obvious problem with images of crying children and parents. Nothing ever changes. It’s as if this nation is on some sort of proverbial hamster wheel where the same arguments are spewed over and over ad infinitum with no end in sight. Any serious proposal is put through the regulatory process where debate is limited and only encourages the executive to exert more power over the legislature.
This failure of the federal government to follow its own rules – along with humanity’s propensity to behave its worst – is why someone believes it’s a-OK to start shooting at ICE offices. There is no justification for what happened early Tuesday because someone could have been injured or killed. The unfortunate part is no one will take a deep dive into what may be the actual cause and potential solutions. It’s far easier to treat the symptom than the actual disease.