Lansing Mayor Andy Schor has condemned posters with links to a nationally recognized white supremacist group that were found in the Old Town neighborhood last week.
They read: “Keep America American. Report any and all illegal aliens. They are criminals.”
“The fliers that have shown up in Old Town are not representative of Lansing residents,” said Schor in a Monday statement. “There is a clear distinction between free speech and behavior that is intended to harass, intimidate, and precipitate hate crimes. We will not stand for hate crimes or harassment and will take appropriate action if anything like this happens in Lansing.”
The Anti-Defamation League describes Patriot Front as “a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them alone. They define themselves as American fascists or American nationalists who are focused on preserving America’s identity as a European-American identity.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center says that active hate and extremist groups in Michigan have increased by more than 6 percent from 2017 to 2018, the Advance has reported. The center describes Patriot Front as such a group.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) on social media issued a stern rejection of the posters:
“It is disappointing to see groups like Patriot Front targeting diverse areas like Lansing’s Old Town district. But know this, we are watching and we won’t allow hate to divide us,” said Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu, MDCR director.
Lansing’s WILX News 10 received a statement from Keep America American, the group that distributed the fliers.
“Our goal with our fliers is to not only keep America informed about the dangers of illegal immigration, but also gives them a valid avenue to report undocumented immigrants in this country if in their own neighborhoods,” said Jesse Ryan.
“Millions of illegals from across the globe pour into this country everyday with open arms. Our tax dollars feed and houses these people with no question. Yet we have millions of homeless veterans and American citizens (mostly minorities) in our streets who deserve government assistance over any undocumented immigrant. That is where our problem lies.”
Schor added that anyone that places fliers on public infrastructure, like light posts, will get ticketed and the fliers will be taken down. If the fliers are put on private property, he said, an individual can be cited for trespassing.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights urges people to connect the agency at 1-800-482-3604 if they, or someone they know, believes they have been targeted for unlawful discrimination, or are aware of bias-motivated incidents.