A billboard along a Louisville interstate is the latest target of the city’s protests against President Trump and his administration’s immigration policies. “#AbolishICE,” the vandalized billboard now reads in bold white letters on a black backdrop.
The vandalism, first observed on July 4, comes on the heels of recent protests and rallies in Louisville against the administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a government agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. There have been calls nationwide to abolish the enforcement agency.
An Outfront Media spokeswoman said the company had been made aware of the vandalism and that, per policy, they would be filing a police report and removing the vandalism as quickly as possible. She added that the company is working with detectives to catch the culprit, as well as looking into measures to deter future graffiti.
The billboard is one of many in the past year to be vandalized with a political message and the tag “Resist 45,” which appears to be a reference to Trump, the 45th president. Previous vandalism has centered around gun laws, the military and Trump’s language.
The vandalism is happening more often in Louisville than in other locations where Outfront Media does business, according to the company.
The political message on the most recent billboard also carries the message “Chinga la migra,” which appears to be a rallying cry in Spanish against law enforcement groups who police immigration.
The vandalism follows a rally outside of the ICE building in Louisville on Monday, where federal officials tore down protesters tents and, later, ran over children’s toys that had been laid out in the road to symbolize the children separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border.
Jesús Ibañez, an organizer of Occupy ICE in Louisville, previously told Courier Journal he was told they could be on the sidewalk and not federal property. Ibañez is also a leader of the local Mijente Louisville group and a law student.
“Is this a compassionate city, Greg Fischer?” Ibañez chanted on Monday.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people also gathered for a rally against the Trump administration’s immigration policies — one of more than 600 “Families Belong Together” marches planned across the country.
During the protest, roughly 200 people splintered off to march to Louisville’s ICE offices, chanting “Shut down ICE!” along the way.
Many protesters spoke out against President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies, including the practice in recent months that separated migrant parents from their children. An executive order, signed by Trump on June 20, ended it.
A federal judge has since ordered the government to reunite children under 5 years old with their parents within 14 days and all other children within 30 days. Immigration advocates say thousands of children remain in limbo, staying in foster homes or detention centers while waiting to be reunited with their parents.
Prominent Democrats, such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have also called to #AbolishICE and reform the country’s immigration system.
Those demonstrating outside ICE’s offices have urged Louisville Democrats to also come out in support of shutting down the agency.
Fischer said in a tweet this week that he favors reforming ICE instead.
“The protests occurring in Louisville (and) other cities once again highlight the need for Washington to finally overhaul our immigration laws to ensure safe borders, a path to citizenship for Dreamers (and) to reform ICE so that immigrants (and) refugees are treated fairly and humanely,” he said.
Written by Darcy Costello, with assistance from Philip Bailey.
Cross-posted with permission from the Courier-Journal via the Kentucky Press News Service.