Anti-immigrant vandalism forces Apex man from home
Posted March 4, 2016
Apex, N.C. — Jose Ramirez has lived quietly in Apex for five years, but he's now staying with friends and seeking a new home after finding racist comments spray-painted on his house last month.
Ramirez was at a party with friends on Feb. 20, and when he got home at about 3 a.m. the following morning, he saw "illegal Mexican" and other derogatory comments sprayed in large black letters across the front of his house on White Swan Court.
He said he fears for his own safety and had to get a prescription to help him cope with anxiety. He even refuses to allow his 9-year-old daughter to visit the house, preferring she stay with her mother to avoid seeing the vandalism.
"I find it disgusting that people would do that type of thing," neighbor Randy Utt said, noting that no one in the neighborhood has ever had a problem with Ramirez.
Will Porter Saenz, communications coordinator for El Pueblo, a Latino advocacy group, said the vandalism is not a reflection of the entire community, where many are welcoming.
"This obviously goes against our values as a country and as a community," Saenz said.
Still, Saenz said, the increased political rhetoric over immigration in recent months both in North Carolina and nationally has ratcheted up fear among local immigrants.
"These people are afraid to go to the grocery store, take their kids to school, do anything that any of us take for granted," he said. "They look through the (online) comments and they see things like, 'Go back to your country,' 'What are you doing here?' 'You’re taking my job.' All these things that have been refuted consistently, but now we’re seeing even more frequently."
The Wake County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vandalism.