Hispanic support groups: 'CALL ICE' fliers not Iowa nice

Published: Feb. 17, 2019 at 9:06 PM CST
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Someone posted flyers with the words "Keep Iowa Nice, Call ICE, around downtown Iowa City, Saturday. Underneath them, an 800 number for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigrant and Hispanic support groups are now denouncing them as racially charged.

"It doesn't belong here," said Iowa LULAC Legal Advisor Andrew Bribrieso. "Hate doesn't belong here in our community. It doesn't belong in Iowa City it doesn't belong in our state."

Bribriesco said when he first heard about these fliers, he immediately condemned them.

"We don't want them to receive any type of attention," said Bribriesco. "It's all just a scare tactic."

The flyers first came light after a post by the Eastern Iowa Community Bond project. The non-profit provides bail bonds for undocumented immigrants. The group posted the pictures after someone found the flyers attached to message kiosks around the downtown. It went so far as to encourage people to tear them down.

"Those posters were not reflective of the community of the Iowa nice culture I know," said LULAC Iowa City President and Human Rights Commission member Jonathon Muñoz.

Muñoz said actions like this stem from a bigger source. He's putting at least some blame on President Trump.

"When you look at the national emergency declared by Trump, you see a lot of heated rhetoric based on marginalizing and oppressing people that usually have not had a voice in this conversation."

Others in solidarity include the Iowa City Democratic Socialists of America. The group shared a picture Sunday afternoon with the opposite theme: "Keep Iowa Nice" -- Abolish Ice. Immigrants are welcome here. Underneath it, the link to donate to the non-profit supporting immigrants.

"ICE operates with a remarkable lack of oversight and accountability, which allows it to abuse its power to harass and terrorize immigrants here in Iowa and throughout the country," said Iowa City DSA Co-Chair Alexandra Loehrer. "The DSA believes that no human being is illegal, and we know we can do much better when it comes to welcoming the many individuals and families seeking opportunity in the United States, the wealthiest nation in the history of the world."

This isn't the first time Iowa City has seen controversial fliers like these.

In November 2017, "IT'S OKAY TO BE WHITE" stickers showed up around the University of Iowa campus.

Months later, "LOVE YOUR RACE" fliers with connections to a suspected white supremacy group.