Posters stapled to light poles in an Omaha, Nebraska, neighborhood urged people to report “illegal aliens” to ICE — and neighbors distressed by the threat of “racial profiling” have been tearing them down.
The posters read: “A notice to all citizens in the United States of America it is your civic duty to report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement they have broken the law.”
“It’s harassment,” Rose Cano, one of the outraged neighbors, told KETV in Omaha. “It’s room for people to start racial profiling.”
Having a sign like that “out in public for everyone to see, it’s not OK,” Dalila Rios told KMTV in Omaha. “There’s actually a lot of people here who have IDs and green cards and want to live their lives here.
“That’s stereotyping. Let’s say me for instance — I’m not illegal but others will say I must be illegal, let’s report it.”
ICE officials told KETV they had nothing to do with the signs.
At the same time, the Omaha World-Herald reports that neo-Nazi booklets have been found in Little Free Libraries in at least three neighborhoods around town.
“These attitudes have no place in our society,” Mary-Beth Muskin, regional director for the Plains States Region of the Anti-Defamation League-Community Relations Council, told the World-Herald.
The Immigrant Legal Center in Omaha has expressed the same sentiment about the ICE posters.
“Is the fact that somebody is speaking another language proof that somebody is (not) a U.S. citizen? Absolutely not,” the center’s executive director, Emiliano Lerda, told KETV.
“And that’s the kind of risk that you run when you start taking this type of matters into your own hands and you don’t have the training and the knowledge.”
Muskin, too, is bothered by the posters.
“Any time you are targeting a group and having the general public decide the citizenship of another person, it’s concerning,’’ she told the World-Herald. “It’s not welcoming or civil.”
The posters are similar to ones that have popped up in other parts of the country. In some instances, the sources have been identified.
A poster in a San Jose, California, neighborhood earlier this month, for instance, was said to be the work of a Texas-based nationalist group called Patriot Front, according to The Mercury News.
One of those posters read “Keep America American” and instructed people to report “any and all illegal aliens” who “are not immigrants. They are criminals.”
Last summer ICE issued a statement saying that posters urging neighbors of one Washington, D.C., neighborhood to report undocumented residents did not come from them, even though the flier was made to look government-official.