Fake road signs put up near California’s borders early this week mocked a new law intended to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.
A paper covering placed over a San Bernardino County sign greeted Interstate 15 travelers with “Felons, Illegals and [MS-13] Welcome! Democrats Need The Votes!” A similar placard was put up just west of Needles near the Arizona state line. Both included the California state seal and a Democratic Party logo.
MS-13 began as a Los Angeles gang in the 1980s before spreading to the rest of the U.S. and a handful of other Western Hemisphere countries. President Donald Trump has accused liberal politicians such as Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam of supporting violent criminals associated with the organization.
Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger said the I-15 paper was removed on Monday, while the one west of Needles was taken down Tuesday morning. Reports of two more signs near the Oregon border were being investigated as of Tuesday afternoon, and a search for one rumored to be on I-95 north of Lake Havasu proved fruitless.
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“For safety reasons, Caltrans does not permit any unauthorized signs in the state right of way,” Dinger said in a prepared statement. “If we haven’t done so already, Caltrans crews will take steps to remove them.”
Similarly designed signs reading “Cheap Nannies and Gardeners Make Malibu Great! (Boyle Heights Not So Much)” were spotted in Southern California last April. City councilwoman Laura Rosenthal, who introduced the measure to make Malibu a sanctuary city, told the Los Angeles Times at the time “it’s very disheartening that anyone would put up such an ugly sign.”
Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 54, the so-called “sanctuary state” bill, along with nearly a dozen other immigration-related bills on Oct. 5. The law, which went into effect Monday, prohibits state and local law enforcement from arresting people on civil immigration warrants or inquire about a suspect’s immigration status, among other details. The law predictably drew the ire of hard-line conservatives, while some immigration activists thought Brown’s amendments to the bill stripped much of its effectiveness.
No person or groups have claimed responsibility for the signs, Dinger said, and civil or criminal prosecution is unlikely.