Close Close Comment Creative Commons Donate Email Add Email Facebook Instagram Facebook Messenger Mobile Nav Menu Podcast Print RSS Search Secure Twitter WhatsApp YouTube

ICE, Dispelling Rumors, Says It Won’t Patrol Polling Places

False claims that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is interfering at polling locations have cropped up intermittently over the past two years.

Voters in Milwaukee in 2008. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will not patrol polling locations on Election Day, an ICE spokeswoman said in response to social media rumors of potential voter intimidation from the federal law enforcement agency.

False claims that ICE is interfering at polling locations have cropped up intermittently over the past two years. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, for example, an image spread on Twitter appearing to show an immigration officer arresting someone in line to vote. The image was a hoax.

Concerns re-emerged last week after a wallet-sized flyer bearing the Department of Homeland Security seal, found on a sidewalk in Milwaukee, claimed that ICE officials would patrol polling stations on Election Day. Nicole Alberico, a spokeswoman for ICE, described the flyers as fake.

“Rumors that ICE plans to engage in patrols or enforcement operations at polling locations are false,” Alberico wrote in a statement. “Any flyers or advertisements claiming otherwise are incorrect and not sanctioned by ICE.”

The flyer included a phone number “to report illegal aliens” that redirected to the DHS’ investigations tip line. It also included threatening language, claiming that if voters did not have proper documentation they might “risk immediate detainment.”

Mary Oglesby posted on Facebook about finding the flyer during a visit to Milwaukee. She immediately became suspicious of the handout and contacted the Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office. “You could tell it wasn’t real because the graphics were really bad,” Oglesby said in an interview with ProPublica.

The Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office notified local law enforcement and DHS after receiving the tip, according to a Joshua Mathy, a spokesperson for the office. He added that no other flyers have been reported.

Milwaukee’s election director, Neil Albrecht, said that he was aware of the flyer and that none of his poll workers had reported seeing anything similar at their polling locations.

Additional reporting by Stefanie Le, IDWire

Protect Independent Journalism

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that produces nonpartisan, evidence-based journalism to expose injustice, corruption and wrongdoing. We were founded ten years ago to fill a growing hole in journalism: newsrooms were (and still are) shrinking, and legacy funding models failing. Deep-dive reporting like ours is slow and expensive, and investigative journalism is a luxury in many newsrooms today — but it remains as critical as ever to democracy and our civic life. A decade (and five Pulitzer Prizes) later, ProPublica has built the largest investigative newsroom in the country. Our work has spurred reform through legislation, at the voting booth, and inside our nation’s most important institutions.

This story you’ve just finished was funded by our readers and we hope it inspires you to make a gift to ProPublica so that we can publish more investigations like this one that holds people in power to account and produces real change.

Your donation will help us ensure that we can continue this critical work. From the Trump Administration, criminal justice, health care, immigration and so much more, we are busier than ever covering stories you won’t see anywhere else. Make your gift of any amount today and join the tens of thousands of ProPublicans across the country, standing up for the power of independent journalism to produce real, lasting change. Thank you.

Donate Now

Blake Paterson

Blake Paterson is the reporting fellow for ProPublica’s Electionland project.

About Electionland

ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

Questions? Read our FAQ.

Follow Electionland

Partners

and 50+ local and national newsrooms. Sign up to become a partner here.

Technical Partner

More Election Tools

The User’s Guide to Democracy

Congress works for you. Here’s how to be a better boss.

Represent

See what your representatives in Congress say and do.

ProPublica on IFTTT

Do more with ProPublica data and automated notifications.

Latest Stories from ProPublica

Current site Current page