Neo-Nazi literature appeared in Bellevue over the weekend telling residents to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on “undocumented immigrants.”
The fliers, which were placed in plastic bags with candy, read “Keep America American” and included the ICE tip hotline for people to report others to the federal government. The fliers were placed in neighborhoods near Clyde Hill Elementary School and Chinook Middle School with candy seemingly designed to attract children.
Clyde Hill resident Heather Chaney said she noticed the fliers around 4 p.m. on June 9 as she was getting her mail. The fliers were placed next to her and her neighbors’ mailboxes. She quickly recognized the fliers as hate group propaganda.
“I turned it over and immediately, the stark red, white and blue and the bloodandsoil.org, I knew right away,” she said.
Blood and Soil is a website for the American neo-Nazi organization Patriot Front. According to It’s Going Down and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — both of which track hate groups in the Pacific Northwest — the Patriot Front is a splinter group from a larger neo-Nazi organization known as Vanguard America. A Vanguard America member was accused of murdering Heather Hayer at the “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia last year. The Blood and Soil website promotes a white supremacist ideology, which states that the United States was founded on a pan-European heritage and refers to immigrants and people of color as “the replacement population.”
Chaney said many of her neighbors are immigrants but wasn’t sure if that factored into their neighborhood being targeted. She went around and collected more than 60 fliers over a few blocks. Some of the candy had been eaten while the fliers had been left behind.
“(They) have candy obviously to catch kids eyes,” she said. “It’s just really a low tactic.”
Officer Seth Tyler, spokesperson for the Bellevue Police Department (BPD), said they received a separate report of fliers being posted in the 1300 block of Bellevue Way Northeast as well as Clyde Hill. Tyler recommended residents throw away or recycle the fliers.
“At this point we don’t have any surveillance video or other evidence to indicate who left the items,” Tyler said.
BPD does not conduct immigration law enforcement. This is to encourage residents to call for help if needed without fear of being arrested for violations of federal immigration law.
Still, Chaney had some strong words for the neo-Nazis that fliered her neighborhood.
“Nazis aren’t welcome anywhere, I’d like them to go back to wherever they came from — underneath a rock somewhere,” she said.
The Pacific Northwest has a long relationship with neo-Nazis and white supremacists despite its liberal image. Several hate groups call Western Washington home, including a chapter of ACT for America and Faith and Freedom, which are anti-Muslim groups. The SPLC Hate Watch map lists the neo-Nazi organizations Crew 38, Blood and Honour, Wolves of Vinland, American Front, the Hammerskins and the Northwest Front as active in the state — all of which hope to create a white entho-state through ethnic cleansing and genocide.
An even more violent organization, called the AtomWaffen Division, has a large chapter in Washington state, according to ProPublica. The chapter is headed by Kaleb J. Cole and based out of Concrete near the Canadian border. Fliers for white supremacist groups — including Identity Evropa — have popped up at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.
The Bellevue fliers come as ICE has come under scrutiny for separating parents from children and in some cases lying to parents, telling them their children were being taken to be bathed and never returned, The Independent reported.
Arrests of undocumented immigrants have intensified since President Donald Trump took office. Immigration activists say ICE is indiscriminately arresting undocumented immigrants, a departure from the Obama administration’s policy of targeting those with criminal records.