A Democratic congressman warned Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and others involved in deporting illegal immigrants that they will pay a price for their current actions when President Donald Trump is no longer in office, Fox News reported.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) made the statement on Twitter in response to a story from The Washington Post about the denial of passports to Hispanic people who are suspected of having fraudulent birth certificates.
"If you are a U.S. government official and you are deporting Americans be warned," Gallego wrote. "When the worm turns you will not be safe because you were just following orders. You do not have to take part in illegal acts ordered by this President's administration."
Did he mean what he said?
Gallego may have realized that his warning sounded more ominous and threatening than he wanted it to, so he issued a statement clarifying what he meant.
“Government officials who violate the law or the constitution will not be immune to legal consequences,” Gallego said in a statement to Fox News. “They will eventually be held accountable for their actions, even if the Trump administration is refusing to do so.”
Some interpreted his initial remark as hinting at or encouraging violence against immigration agents.
“It should be frightening to every American that a sitting member of Congress would threaten the safety of any person and their family, and incite the public to take acts of violence against them, let alone the lives of those whose job it is to protect us and keep us safe,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council.
What's the big immigration issue now?
The Washington Post published a report Wednesday describing how Hispanic U.S. citizens near the border who may have fake birth certificates are being denied passports.
The State Department said it flags applicants who have birth certificates filed by a midwife or suspicious birth attendant, and asks them to provide further proof of where they were born.
“Individuals who are unable to demonstrate that they were born in the United States are denied issuance of a passport,” the State Department said, according to the Post article.