Eleanor Holmes Norton, the nonvoting congressional delegate for Washington, D.C., asked the FBI on Friday to investigate the appearance of bogus U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) leaflets within the nation’s capital this week that warn residents against harboring “illegal aliens.”
“I believe that whoever created and posted these fliers did so in violation of several federal laws,” Ms. Norton wrote to FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe on Friday.
“The fake fliers were clearly designed to convey the impression of authenticity, and I believe they were posted in order to target and intimidate immigrants and their families living in the District,” she added. “D.C. is a city that welcomes and provides sanctuary to people from all over the world, and we believe a federal investigation to determine who is responsible is fully warranted.”
The fake ICE posters were first spotted plastered on light poles and utility boxes around the city on Thursday this week, provoking heated reactions from the city’s Democratic mayor, Muriel Bowser, in addition to the federal immigration agency itself.
“Tear it down!” Miss. Bowser tweeted Thursday morning. “Clearly the flyer is meant to scare and divide our residents.”
“Just like false reports of immigration checkpoints or random sweeps, notices like these are dangerous and irresponsible,” an ICE spokeswoman added. “Any person who actively incites panic or fear of law enforcement is doing a disservice to the community, endangering public safety and the very people they claim to support and represent.”
Indeed, Ms. Norton wrote in Friday’s letter than the person or persons responsible for the posters may have violated a couple of federal laws in the course of conducting the stunt — impersonating a federal officer and forging government seals are both illegal, she wrote Mr. McCabe.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.