City officials and immigration advocates gathered in Sunnyside, Queens on Tuesday to denounce posters that were put up in the neighborhood urging people to report undocumented immigrants to the federal government.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district includes Sunnyside, said he discovered the posters at the intersection of 35th Street and Skillman Avenue on Sunday during his morning run. It’s unclear how long the posters had been up before Van Bramer came across them.
Calling the signs “trash,” the councilman said he tore them up and urged anyone who comes across additional flyers to take them down.
The posters – which read, “A notice to all citizens of 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,” and include a phone number for ICE – have been spotted in cities and on college campuses across the country in recent months.
This morning @MaketheRoadNY, @CMSBQ, @SCSNYC, SWAG, reps from @LaGuardiaCC, & immigrant advocates joined me to say loud & clear: immigrants are welcome here! There’s no room for white supremacist trash in our sanctuary city. We must embrace #QueensValues & be #SanctuaryNeighbors pic.twitter.com/EFIA6WspgO— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) October 9, 2018
Van Bramer said the white supremacist group Vanguard America designed the poster but the group told him it didn’t know who put them up in Queens. A spokeswoman for ICE said the posters are not made, distrubted or endorsed by the agency, but declined to comment further.
“There is no room for white supremacist trash in our sanctuary city. We must be sanctuary neighbors and reaffirm to all immigrants and refugees that everyone is welcome here,” Van Bramer said on Tuesday. “The hateful signs were designed to look like official ICE materials as a way to intimidate immigrants and to pit neighbors against one another. The kind of vigilantism it could inspire is dangerous and illegal.”
Members of the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York spent part of Tuesday putting up their own signs in the neighborhood that encourage residents to, “stand in support of immigrants, refugees, people of all faiths."
“There’s no room for hate in Queens,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “Today, we’re replacing hate with love.”
Other groups have also joined Van Bramer and Make the Road New York in condemning the posters, including Catholic Migration Services, Sunnyside Community Services, the Sunnyside & Woodside Action Group (SWAG) and representatives from nearby LaGuardia Community College.