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Lansing — The Michigan Republican Party headquarters was tagged with anti-ICE graffiti this weekend as reports of planned illegal immigration raids in major U.S. cities circulated across the country.

Party officials discovered the graffiti, which said “F--- ICE,” on the front of the Lansing facility Saturday evening and reported it to police, said Tony Zammit, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party.

While the vandalism occurred amid heightened concerns about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, the state party believes it may have been a personal attack on Chairwoman Laura Cox, who served a significant portion of her career as an ICE agent.

“I find it ironic that despite all the saber rattling on ICE throughout the past few years, this is the time that it happens,” Zammit said Sunday.

The vandalism is believed to have occurred shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday, Lansing Police Sgt. Jeromy Churchill said. Police will review video evidence in their investigation of the incident, he said. 

Anyone with information that could aid the investigation is asked to call Lansing police at (517) 483-6846. 

The Seymour Avenue office also was vandalized in late October, when someone spray painted “we won’t be erased” with a transgender symbol. A few days later that same month, the Traverse City-area GOP office was closed temporarily after a reported threat.

“We just feel this is an escalating narrative,” Zammit said. “We think it’s important that in this country we have a civil discourse.”

The graffiti appeared amid heightened anxiety in Michigan and across the country as plans for immigration raids in several U.S. cities were reported Friday by the Miami Herald and Washington Post.

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Saturday afternoon that the planned effort to deport millions of people who are in the country illegally would be put on hold for two weeks.

In his Tweet, Trump said he delayed the raids \ “to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called Trump on Friday asking him to call off the operation. Separately, administration officials told The Associated Press that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was concerned that details leaked to the media could jeopardize its agents.

In southwest Detroit, advocates went door-to-door Saturday morning prior to Trump’s Tweet warning residents of the expected mass arrests.

ICE spokeswoman Carol Danko said in a statement that people in the county illegally were refusing to appear for court hearings and “gaming the system by smuggling children to gain access to our country.” Without changes to the laws to ensure prompt removal, Danko said, "there is no alternative but to continuously arrest these fugitive aliens in the interior."

“Any leak telegraphing sensitive law enforcement operations is egregious and puts our officers’ safety in danger,” Danko said.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3661

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