Fake notices from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement urging the public to report undocumented immigrants were found Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The posters bore the ICE seal and included the phone number for the agency’s tip line for reporting illegal immigrants. Claiming to be a “Sanctuary City Neighborhood Public Notice”, the notice referenced federal immigration law on harboring undocumented immigrants. Locals quickly called foul on the fake posters.
Both ICE and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser have denied the validity of the posters. Bowser and other city officials instructed residents on Twitter to tear the posters down.
Local playwright Richard Byrne, who came upon the posters in his neighborhood, told DCist that he thought the posters may have cropped up overnight.
“Southwest D.C. is not always the most placid neighborhood,” Byrne told DCist. “But this is just so far beyond the pale of what our neighborhood is about. Imagine putting the time in to put [the flyers] up on pretty much every pole in a couple block radius.”
Washington’s status as a sanctuary city has meant that the city’s police force does not inquire immigration status when making arrests. Sanctuary cities in practice don’t cooperate with federal authorities in deporting those who are in the United States illegally. This has put the nation’s capital—along with major metropolises from Chicago to Los Angeles to New York City—in the direct line of fire of the Trump administration’s plan to crack down on deporting undocumented aliens and cut off funding to sanctuary cities.
In advance of Trump’s inauguration, Bowser in back January announced the creation of a $500,000 legal aid fund to help D.C.’s undocumented immigrants—of which there are approximately 25,000—apply for asylum.