Oct. 8, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A flyer with a message demanding that citizens report undocumented immigrants to ICE has popped up in the area, with a video of Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer ripping the poster apart going viral.
The flyer, written in bold, capital letters, says it is the “civic duty” of American citizens to report any and all illegal aliens to ICE.
“They have broken the law,” the flyer, which includes the homeland security investigations tip line, reads before concluding with, “have a nice day.”
The flyer was spotted on 35th Street and Skillman Avenue by Van Bramer over the weekend, who shared a video of himself tearing the poster down and ripping it to pieces—face turned in disgust—on his social media feeds.
“All immigrants are welcome here,” he wrote. “If you see these, feel free to take them down. Be a sanctuary neighbor.”
The video has been retweeted more than a thousand times, and has gathered over 165,000 views.
“It was really offensive, and quite frightening that it would appear in the neighborhood,” Van Bramer told the Sunnyside Post.
He said the flyer is meant to intimidate immigrants, and also encourages illegal, vigilante behavior.
“How does anyone know by looking at someone whether they’re undocumented or not? It’s absolutely disgraceful and outrageous.”
While it is unclear who or what organization posted this flyer in the area, it has appeared under several iterations across the country in places like Nebraska, Washington State, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The poster’s origins have been traced to Vanguard America, a white supremacist group.
Van Bramer, who saw and tore down two posters on the same site, said the message he hoped to send with the video is one of action.
“It’s not enough to just roll your eyes and say that’s awful,” he said. “People should act. People should get rid of that message of hate right away because to leave it up for even a moment longer is to allow that message to be seen and to permeate.”
In response to the flyer, a press conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow with Make the Road New York and other immigrant organizations and activists denouncing its message at the site it was found.
Saw this trash on #SkillmanAvenue during my a.m. run. Tore them up. We are a #SanctuaryCity & we need to be a sanctuary neighborhood. All Immigrants are welcome here. If you see these, feel free to take them down. Be a sanctuary neighbor. #QueensValues must trump #TrumpValues! pic.twitter.com/9mtuZeW1Cn
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) October 7, 2018