Columns

D.C. Delegate Wants FBI Investigation Into Fake Sanctuary City Enforcement Notices

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) holds a news conference in the Cannon House Office Building on May 9, 2016.(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — D.C.’s delegate to Congress has asked the FBI to investigate the posting of fake Immigration and Customs Enforcement notices, charging that whoever posted the “Sanctuary City Public Notice” was impersonating law enforcement through the act.

The fliers, which were posted on poles overnight Wednesday-Thursday near the L’Enfant Metro Station, encouraged residents to “see something, say something” and included the Customs and Border Protection hotline for people to report illegal immigrants.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said her office contacted D.C. police and the District’s Department of Public Works to tear them down. “And a reminder that we respect all DC residents no matter their immigration status,” she tweeted. “Washington, DC remains a sanctuary city.”

ICE spokesperson Carissa Cutrell said the fliers were not issued or sanctioned by the agency.  “Just like false reports of immigration checkpoints or random sweeps, notices like these are dangerous and irresponsible,” she said. “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.”

In a letter today to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked the Bureau “to investigate a serious incident involving fraudulent documents purporting to come from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

“The fliers — which bore the seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and looked official to residents — appeared on telephone poles and bus stops in the District of Columbia… I believe that whoever created and posted these fliers did so in violation of several federal laws,” Norton wrote, citing Title 18, § 912 of the U.S. Code: “Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such … shall be fined … or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

She also cited 18 U.S. Code § 506, which makes it a crime to “falsely make, forge, counterfeit, mutilate, or alter the seal of any department or agency of the United States, or any facsimile thereof” and prohibits affixing a fraudulent government seal to papers.

“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,” Norton 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.”