Albert Lea sign controversy: "Deport Illegals" message sparks protest

Categories: Immigration
albert lea sign.jpg
Albert Lea Sucks blog
An Albert Lea businessman is displaying this sign on his building.
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Later today, people will gather to protest a controversial electronic sign displayed on the side of an Albert Lea building owned by a man who makes his money circulating porn videos.

The sign, visible on the side of the Dima Corp. building, which is owned by adult entertainment businessman Mal Prinzing, reads: "Catch and release - no! Deport Illegals - Si."

Prinzing's anti-illegal immigrant message hasn't been contained to the side of the Dima building. His company also rents the large yellow signs that are seen trailing behind airplanes, and last Thursday, the "Deport Illegals" message was scrawled on a banner flying above Albert Lea.

Today's protest, scheduled for 6 to 8:30 p.m. across the street from the Dima Corp. building, is being organized by Centro Campesino, an Owatonna-based organization "concerned about the well being and the empowerment of migrant workers and year round immigrant Latino residents of south-central Minnesota."

In a news release, Centro Campesino cites the following objections to the sign:
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-- The phrase "catch and release - no" dehumanizes undocumented immigrants by likening their arrest and deportation to the sport of fishing.

-- This sign is racist because [it] targets the Latino and Hispanic population, when in fact undocumented immigrants come from all nationalities.

-- The sign creates an unwelcoming and hostile environment for all Hispanic and Latino people in Albert Lea, not just those who are undocumented.

This ignorant sign is not a constructive critique of illegal immigration, but a rather [sic] tactic to spread hate and alienate Latino people in the area.
But some Albert Lea residents and city officials argue that whether one agrees or disagrees with Prinzing's message, he has a First Amendment right to display the sign on his property.

From the Austin Daily Herald:
"What happened to free speech?" asked Paul Westrum, founder of the Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction and an Albert Lea resident. "A guy has free speech and puts a sign out there. Why is anybody complaining about it?"

Westrum said he and others from his group plan to attend the protest Monday night, mainly to answer questions from Centro Campesino.

"We've had immigration laws on the books for years and years, but for the last 20 years our government has refused to protect us with these laws," he said.

City Inspector Doug Johnson said he has been receiving several calls about the sign this week from people questioning whether it violates city ordinances. Johnson said despite what some people think, Prinzing went through all of the proper channels to have the sign installed, and the sign is legal.

"He did get a permit, and he did have a licensed sign hanger to hang that sign up there," he said. "We can't do anything about the content, nor should we. That's a First Amendment right."
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14 comments
kikex69
kikex69

mind ipaired people can use freedom of speech to say a bunch of stupid things against people who works hard for just a few dollar a day.  whe u dont have enough labor you are crying around the world asking for workers to come a do the jobs that u are too pussy to do.

remember the bracero program!!  without immigrants this country could be broke. you are very hypocritical saying curses against illegals but you are very happy hiring them and gettin rich thanks to a cheap labor. 

kikex69
kikex69

mind ipaired people can use freedom of speech to say a bunch of stupid things against people who works hard for just a few dollar a day.  whe u dont have enough labor you are crying around the world asking for workers to come a do the jobs that u are too pussy to do.

remember the bracero program!!  without immigrants this country could be broke. you are very hypocritical saying curses against illegals but you are very happy hiring them and gettin rich thanks to a cheap labor. 

mxmx
mxmx

Illegal: "City inspector, there is a sign that hurts my precious feelings. Can we find a angle to deny someones first amendment right to free speech on their own property and make it illegal (kinda like myself)?" City inspector: "No, it was done above the board." Illegal: "Okay, well then ill just protest."

mxmx
mxmx

I like how City Pages, who mas lots of sex ads in its magazine and has connections to backpage.com which is used by hookers throws in the whole porn connection in the first paragraph. Calling the kettle black, no?

Ly-Zhou Sherry
Ly-Zhou Sherry

Let's begin by deporting the illegals who first arrived on their high horses hundreds of years ago who wiped out the native people here through war, genocide, religious and linguistic persecution, and disease. Good thinking, bigots.

Theresa Bruckner
Theresa Bruckner

Thank you, Aaron. I have no idea where everyone's getting this idea that freedom of speech means immunity to criticism. It absolutely doesn't.

Aaron Eilers
Aaron Eilers

He has every right to post it, just as those protesting it have every right to do that as well.

GeekAaron
GeekAaron

"What happened to free speech?" asked Paul Westrum, founder of the Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction and an Albert Lea resident. "A guy has free speech and puts a sign out there. Why is anybody complaining about it?"

 

Who ever said that free speech meant people couldn't complain. Protesting this sign is as much about "free speech" as the sign itself.

Nicholas S. Goers
Nicholas S. Goers

He has every right to post it and it is an issue in this country right now... Not sure this is really a story or City Pages trying to start more of a ruckus out of what has already by the sign?????

Karen2
Karen2

Stay classy Albert Lea! One day you'll be begging the State for some economic development handouts when the city becomes a trashy empty shell.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

 @GeekAaron I too was amazed a racist would also be an idiot who has no grasp of what freedom of speech means. 

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