WASHINGTON — A woman tossed a lit Molotov cocktail into the lobby of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Oakland Park, Florida. But no major injuries were reported, according to a report of the incident sent to administration officials and viewed by The Associated Press.
The woman walked into the office Friday afternoon and hurled a bottle filled with gasoline and a lit fuse. But the fuse disconnected from the bottle and didn't ignite, according to the report. Law enforcement officials believe she intended to cause harm but the incident wasn't related to other incidents where Homeland Security agencies were targeted.
The incident comes amid federal investigators' growing concerns about attacks on immigration agencies during a time of heightened emotion and scrutiny. The issue remains a political powder keg for both Democrats and Republicans as Trump continues to push for major changes on his signature issue and tries to energize his base by delivering on campaign promises.
A Homeland Security official condemned the attack and urged the public to express themselves peacefully and respectfully without trying to harm people. The official, who was not authorized to discuss an internal incident, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The official said the attacks were unacceptable.
Citizenship and Immigration Services handles legal immigration, and the agency has been in the spotlight recently. It is run by Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli, a supporter of President Trump's hardline immigration policies who has presided over major recent changes that have prompted criticism from immigrant advocates.
One major change could deny green cards to many migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance. Cuccinelli also defended changes to a longstanding agreement that governs how children cared for in government custody and how long they can be detained.
It wasn't clear what prompted the woman to launch the bottle. Security officers handcuffed her and subdued her until she could be taken into custody by Federal Protective Service officers who arrested her. The report did not list her name or what criminal charges she faced.
No one was injured, though one person reported feeling ill from the smell of gasoline, and the offices were closed.
About two weeks ago in San Antonio, at least one vehicle pulled up to a building that houses offices for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a gunman fired shots through a window, FBI officials said. No one was injured. Another building used by ICE was also fired on.