On Friday night, a mass shooting in the small town of Cleveland, Texas, left five people dead, including an 8-year-old boy. The suspect, Francisco Oropesa, 38, was identified by ICE as an illegal immigrant who had been deported from the United States three times in the past.
The FBI is offering an $80,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Oropesa, who is considered to be armed and dangerous. More than 250 agents have been assigned to the case.
The tragedy highlights the dangers posed by existing immigration loopholes that allow those who have been deported multiple times to re-enter the United States, often unchecked and with unknown intentions. Oropeza had been removed by an immigration judge in 2009 and had been detained and removed several more times in 2009, 2012 and 2016. Despite this, he was able to re-enter the United States and remain here, undetected, until the mass shooting.
Oropeza was also convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2012 and sentenced to prison, but it is unclear when, or how, he was able to re-enter the United States again. This raises questions about the effectiveness of the immigration system and how efficiently those who have been deported are being monitored.
The Cleveland massacre is one of many mass shootings that have occurred in the United States so far this year, underscoring the urgent need for gun reform. In the meantime, authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding Oropesa and bringing him to justice.