by Jason Hopkins
Immigration and Customs Enforcement will soon beef up security at facilities in response to a recent slate of violence against the agency’s detention centers and offices across the country.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan instructed the Federal Protective Service to supply ICE facilities with enhanced security, according to a letter the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained. The directive is in response to a number of attacks against ICE property in recent time.
“Our ICE law enforcement partners are coming under increased and ever more violent assault for merely doing their jobs. This is not just a threat to the law enforcement professionals within [the Department of Homeland Security] but an affront to the rule of law itself,” McAleenan said in a letter distributed to DHS personnel on Sept. 12. “Make no mistake: Peaceful protest is a constitutionally protected, time-honored American tradition, firmly woven into the fabric of our shared American rights and values. But violence will not be tolerated.”
The Homeland Security chief noted the terrorist attack against an ICE detention center in Washington state in July and a shooting of an ICE office in San Antonio in August.
“I have directed professionals at the Federal Protective Service, whose responsibilities include the protection of our federal facilities, with presenting a detailed plan for securing all of our ICE facilities nationwide and ensuring that the hardworking employees of ICE can do their jobs in a safe and secure environment, free from the threat of violence,” McAleenan said in the letter.
“I am requesting that this operational plan be presented to me within two weeks of the issuance of this memo,” he continued.
ICE, the agency under DHS that it tasked with carrying out removal orders of illegal immigrants, has become an increasing target by extremists. Willem Van Spronsen, a 69-year-old with ties to Antifa, attempted to set an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington, on fire in July, but he died in a shootout with police before enacting too much damage. Spronsen left behind a manifesto that declared his far-left views.
An ICE office in San Antonio was shot at, leaving windows shattered, in a separate incident that took place overnight the following month. No one was killed or injured, but FBI investigators concluded the attack was coordinated and specifically targeted against the agency.
Violence has not been limited to one agency. Authorities arrested a Florida woman in late August for entering a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office and allegedly throwing a lit Molotov cocktail. The fuse disconnected from the bottle and was unable to ignite.
It’s not immediately clear what new security will entail, but a more specific plan will come soon. McAleenan said in the letter that those who are found to have committed violence against DHS personnel will be prosecuted to “the fullest extent of the law.”
“Under my leadership, and with the support of this administration, we will always and emphatically stand with and support our heroic law enforcement community. An attack on one of our own is an attack on ALL OF DHS,” McAleenan concluded.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.