The Republican Party headquarters in Lansing, Michigan, was defaced over the weekend with graffiti targeting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ahead of what was to be the start of a law enforcement operation on Sunday to detain and deport people in the United States who defied court deportation orders and disappeared into the interior of the country.
The Detroit News reported that party officials found the graffiti, which said “F—k ICE,” on the front of the building on Saturday and reported it to police according to Tony Zammit, communications director for the Michigan GOP.
“We just feel this is an escalating narrative,” Zammit said. “We think it’s important that in this country we have a civil discourse.”
President Donald Trump announced on Twitter on Saturday that he would delay the operation to give Congress two weeks to resolve the crisis of thousands of migrants trying to breach the U.S. border with Mexico.
I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to Asylum and Loopholes. This will fix the Southern Border, together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big Deportation begins!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2019
But the Detroit News reported the vandalism might not be related to the proposed immigration sweep, saying:
While the vandalism occurred amid heightened concerns about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, the state party believes it may have been a personal attack on Chairwoman Laura Cox, who served a significant portion of her career as an ICE agent.
The Seymour Avenue office also was vandalized in late October, when someone spray-painted “we won’t be erased” with a transgender symbol. A few days later that same month, the Traverse City-area GOP office was closed temporarily after a reported threat.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called Trump on Friday asking him to call off the operation. Separately, administration officials told The Associated Press that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was concerned that details leaked to the media could jeopardize its agents.
ICE spokeswoman Carol Danko said in a statement that migrants are “gaming the system by smuggling children to gain access to our country.”
Danko said without Congress passing laws that would ensure prompt removal instead of the current catch and release practice “there is no alternative but to continuously arrest these fugitive aliens in the interior.”
The Detroit News also reported that immigration activists went door to door on Saturday to warn residents about the “expected mass arrests.”
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