Worthington mayor denounces anti-immigration sign

Published: Sep. 29, 2017 at 10:26 PM CDT
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An anti-immigration sign posted in one of Minnesota's most diverse cities has several city and community leaders speaking out.

The hand written sign said 'Welcome to Wortington, Mexico formerly Wortington, Minnesota' with a folded American flag attached.

“I was disappointed to say the least, because that's not what Worthington is about,” Mayor Mike Kuhle said.

“I was kind of disappointed because there's still stuff like that going on; Worthington has a lot of different cultures and it’s so diverse, you'd think people would just accept it by now,” Worthington resident Jessica Zuniga said.

More than half of Worthington’s population is made up of immigrants; it’s why the sign left on one of the city's busiest roadways caused such a stir.

“A lot of people I know got really mad about it,” Zuniga said.

“I'm confident people will not take kindly to signs of that nature,” Mayor Kuhle said.

Worthington's mayor says the sign may be in response to the recent deportation case of Jacobo Gabriel Thomas KSFY has followed all summer.

“That's an unfortunate case,” Mayor Kuhle said. “This guy has a wife and four kids, has a great job at a hog confinement facility south of town, what’s wrong with that picture, why are we sending him back?”

Mayor Kuhle says he's proud of his city's diverse population.

“It’s not just Latino, its African, its Asian, it’s across the board, 12 different cultures,” he said. “I’ve always said the immigrant population in Worthington is an asset, culturally, educationally and we need the workers for our businesses.”

While the sign may be meant as an insult, people in Worthington say it doesn't represent the majority of people in their community.

“I think and hope its few,” Zuniga said. “I really don't think a lot of people think like that anymore.”

“Unfortunately in today's world all communities have that certain element that are in the background that are just not educated,” Mayor Kuhle said.

“Obviously it’s someone who doesn't know much because they can't even spell their hometown right,” Zuniga said of the sign’s author.

The sign was removed by the Worthington Police Department Friday afternoon. The mayor says it’s the first time he’s seen something like that posted in town and he hopes it’s the last.