A federal immigration official shot and injured a man in Chicago while attempting to arrest another person in the city, authorities said Monday.
However, it was not clear whether immigration officials were attempting to arrest someone on Monday morning due to their immigration status or if the person was being sought on other charges, a potentially key distinction at a time of fear nationwide among immigrants in the United States.
Since President Trump took office, his administration has conducted immigration raids across the country and vowed to speed up deportation hearings and expand the pool of people who could be removed.
While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) declined to say whether the arrest had anything to do with a person’s immigration status, the agency released a statement that appeared to suggest it could have been focused on something else. ICE said agents with its Homeland Security Investigations arm, which has a broad mandate touching on numerous types of crimes, “attempted to make an arrest” when a second person “pointed a weapon toward agents.”
“As a result, a special agent discharged his firearm and shot the individual, injuring him,” the agency said.
Officials have so far not said whom ICE was attempting to arrest or why. A spokesman for ICE declined to say whether the warrant on Monday morning specifically involved someone in the country illegally or facing possible deportation.
The man who was shot was the father of the person being sought, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the incident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
The injured man was not immediately named. Police described him as a Hispanic man shot in his “extremities” and said he was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
Chicago police were called to the scene not long before 6:30 a.m., the department said. While they were not involved in what the department called “a federal enforcement initiative,” Chicago police officers will now investigate the shooting that took place.
According to a police spokesman, the ICE agent was not transported to a hospital, and it was not clear if the agent — who was also not identified — suffered any injuries.
The police probe will only focus on the shooting itself and not whether the use of force was in accordance with the standards of ICE or its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security. In its statement, ICE said that it would also launch an internal review of the shooting.
“Any time an ICE officer or special agent discharges their firearm in the line of duty, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility reviews the matter,” ICE said.
ICE is perhaps best known for enforcing the country’s immigration laws. The agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations branch is tasked with identifying, detaining and removing people in the country illegally, an area that Trump has described as a top priority for his administration. (Thomas D. Homan, whom Trump named the new acting director of ICE in January, was until that point the executive associate director of the enforcement and removal branch, where he was honored last year with an award for his work on deportations.)
ICE shot someone here while serving a warrant this morning, according to Chicago Police. Grand / Melvina #chicago https://t.co/ImEw4IgkgG pic.twitter.com/Vfi7OFE7d4
— Peter Nickeas (@PeterNickeas) March 27, 2017
However, the other half of ICE’s purview is under the Homeland Security Investigations branch, which is tasked with investigating everything from drugs and weapons smuggling to thefts of international antiquities.
This branch of ICE also investigates some forms of commercial fraud and is dedicated to finding and returning items stolen in Iraq since the war there began in 2003. In recent weeks, this branch has been involved in investigating a narcotics ring, cocaine trafficking and child pornography, and it was also involved in the probe that saw Philadelphia’s district attorney indicted on counts of bribery, extortion and wire fraud.
The ICE spokesman did not answer questions regarding whether other federal agents were involved in the incident Monday morning.
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