An offensive poster was reported by a student to campus security on July 24, after being posted in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) West Garage. The poster called for community members to report “illegal aliens” to immigration services. It also included offensive illustrations that show a police officer holding a gun to a man’s head and another man being forcibly removed from the United States by a large hand. Both are offensive caricatures of Latin American men.
The poster appears to be printed by a group called the Daily Stormer, which is a known neo-Nazi online publication that posted similar fliers last year near campus, as well. The timing of this poster is no coincidence either, as the Trump administration has announced efforts to step up immigration raids in major cities in recent months.
In a statement responding to the posters being found on campus, Student Body President Aya Yousef praised UNO for creating an inclusive environment that works toward welcoming students of all backgrounds.
“I’m proud that UNO Public Safety and administration have made it their priority to welcome students of various backgrounds and are assisting in this matter,” said Yousef. “Student Government, as well as other campus resources, are always here to welcome and support students regardless of identification.”
This country was founded by immigrants and has always promised a better way of life for foreigners that are willing to earn their way once they are here. The path to the modern American dream for most now leads to some form of secondary education, which can be even harder for people coming from underprivileged communities. Posters like these do not project the message of UNO being an inclusive campus and need to be stopped here.
The people this poster targets often are fleeing or have fled political violence in their homes and are not criminals. To insist that they have broken some sacred law of our land is insincere and xenophobic, when according to U.S. immigration law, illegal entry into the country is no more than a misdemeanor or a civil offense that is supposed to be settled in immigration court. These offenses are the equivalent to petty crimes that hurt no one except the families that come here seeking a better life, often from violence and poverty in their home countries.
The rhetoric of the current administration only emboldens politically far-right groups and individuals to act out on their beliefs of white supremacy. If you need more evidence, you don’t need to look any further than the weekend headlines that reported two mass shootings in 24 hours. Both shooters left behind manifestos that cited racial motivation in their attacks.
This means if we are truly to create a campus that is all inclusive, we have a moral obligation to stand up for these marginalized communities and demand hateful groups and posters are not allowed on our campus or anywhere. It is time that we finally admit that the rhetoric of these posters is dangerous and has led to the logical conclusion of violence against these groups.