Gov. Greg Abbott is facing backlash from immigration advocates and liberal Democrats after he discussed the immigration status of the victims of a shooter who is accused of killing five of his neighbors in Cleveland, Texas.
The FBI was leading a manhunt with other agencies for 38-year-old gunman Francisco Oropesa, who allegedly murdered five of his neighbors after one of them asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard, something his neighbors claimed he had repeatedly done.
As reported by The Dallas Express, Oropesa was apprehended and arrested by law enforcement in Montgomery County on Tuesday evening, four days after the shooting.
Oropesa was deported four times since 2009, but neighbors said he had lived in Cleveland for several years prior to the shooting.
After law enforcement was unable to apprehend Oropesa for several days, Gov. Abbott went to Twitter to announce a $50,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of the accused murderer.
“I’ve announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday,” the tweet read. “Also directed #OperationLoneStar to be on the lookout. I continue working with state & local officials to ensure all available resources are deployed to respond.”
Critics of the governor seized on his claim that the five victims were unlawful migrants. KPRC Houston reported that one of the victims was a permanent legal resident.
Ed Krassenstein, a liberal social media influencer, claimed on Twitter that the governor dehumanized the victims by referring to them as illegal immigrants.
“There is absolutely no reason why you need to refer to 5 human beings who were murdered, execution style, as “illegal immigrants.” These were human beings; no different than you and I. Dehumanizing victims of gun violence doesn’t make gun violence in Texas or in America any less of a problem.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also weighed in, echoing Abbott’s sentiment.
“5 innocent lives lost to gun violence. TX [Governor Greg Abbott] decides to dehumanize & delegitimize the lives of those killed in this horrific attack by calling them “illegal” immigrants. Just horrible. Thoughts are with the families and the survivors during this difficult time.”
Abbott’s press office reacted to the criticism by issuing a correction statement.
“We’ve since learned that at least one of the victims may have been in the United States legally. We regret if the information was incorrect and detracted from the important goal of finding and arresting the criminal. The true focus remains on catching this heinous criminal who killed five innocent people and bringing the full weight of Texas law against him.”
Rising murders continue to plague metro areas in Texas, including Dallas.
According to the Dallas Police Department’s crime analytics dashboard, murders and non-negligent manslaughters are up 23.1% year-over-year in the City of Dallas.