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Twitter users break out over ICE presence at Uvalde shooting

Twitter users said Tuesday that the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the site of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, is a barrier to parents searching for their children.

The gunman, identified by authorities as Salvador Ramos, shot dead 19 children and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School. As of Wednesday, five 10-year-olds and two fourth-grade teachers have been publicly identified as victims. Uvalde County, 80 miles west of San Antonio, is 73% Hispanic.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection would not participate in immigration enforcement at the school “to the fullest extent possible.”

One of first tweets about ICE and Border Patrol agents at Robb Elementary appears to come from William D. Lopez, a professor at the University of Michigan whose expertise lies in community response to immigration enforcement. On Tuesday, he tweeted that Border Patrol was “on site” at the shooting.

“I pray for these parents who fear their children are dead and are debating whether or not to arrest them when they try to find out,” Lopez tweeted. As of Wednesday, his tweet had over 69,000 likes and was retweeted nearly 15,000 times.

In a phone interview with the Daily Dot, Lopez said he was from the San Antonio area and assumed the Border Patrol would be there. A border guard shot dead gunman Ramos after Tuesday’s mass shooting.

Tweets with similar sentiments followed: Cory Archibald, the communications director for the progressive political action committee Brand New Congress, quoted Lopez’s tweet and suggested that border guards could not be at the scene for any purpose other than “to target already terrorized families”.

Twitter user @ahouse4all tweeted that because agents were in Uvalde, “undocumented parents must consider arrest and deportation before checking to see if their children are alive.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s statement on the shooting classified Robb Elementary as a “protected area,” or an area where ICE and Border Protection agents would not conduct deportations or arrests based on immigration status.

The statement said authorities will provide “emergency assistance” to local people “regardless of their immigration status.” ICE and border guards are considered first responders by law.

Lopez said he still worries that the nuances of ICE and Border Patrol duties at the scene of the shooting would discourage non-citizens from going to the crime scene out of fear to reunite with family members.

“People judge them by what [ICE and border patrol’s] Job is 365 days a year,” Lopez told the Daily Dot. “If one day they pause and do CPR and kill a shooter, people are still judging them on their mission for the rest of the year.”

Other tweets echoed Lopez’s claim that ICE and Border Patrol could add additional burdens to the families involved in the tragedy.

“#Uvalde is a mostly working-class LatinX community,” @malawian81 tweeted. “Parents must choose to leave work/pay to support their children. Mixed-status families will watch as their community is overtaken by police and federal law enforcement over fears of ICE intervention.”

“Imagine the traumatized parents facing ANOTHER stressor while trying to see if their child was killed or not,” @amor_valeriaa tweeted. “This country is absolutely disgusting.”


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*Initial publication: May 25, 2022 at 6:37 pm CDT

Tricia Crimmins

Tricia Crimmins is the IRL Editor at the Daily Dot. She is also a New York-based comedian studying at Columbia Journalism School. She has previously written for Mashable, Complex Networks and Moment magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @TriciaCrimmins.

Tricia Crimmins

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/uvalde-ice-border-patrol/ Twitter users break out over ICE presence at Uvalde shooting

Jaclyn Diaz

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