NEWBURYPORT (CBS) – Elaine Devereaux couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the banner plastered right outside of her Newburyport salon.
“It’s my life. It’s everything,” Elaine Devereaux said.
The message, several feet wide, twice as tall and even more offensive to Elaine.
“Oh you couldn’t miss it,” she explained. “It said my husband’s name, was an ICE agent and the owner of Salon Bellissimo and he was a danger to the community.”
Mayor Donna Holaday found it absolutely disturbing.
“I’m just really concerned that someone took the time to create this really disturbing and hateful banner, a large banner, and post it right in front of her business so it’s the first thing she saw,” she said.
“It’s hateful, it’s inaccurate and it has caused tremendous anxiety,” the Mayor added.
While Mr. Devereaux does work for Homeland Security, both his wife and the Mayor feel the banner couldn’t be more false or alarming.
“He is not an ICE agent that’s the thing. I don’t know where they got their information from but it was completely wrong,” Devereaux said.
“We have no history of ICE agents coming into our community and coming into various business and yanking families apart and we like it that way,” Mayor Holaday added.
Devereaux said the banner was so big and so heavy, it was hard to take down.
“I couldn’t drop it on the road in case it hit a car,” she said.
Just like it took two people to take the banner down, she believes at least two people had to have hung it.
What is even more hurtful, Devereaux came to this country from Ireland and knows firsthand what it takes to become a U.S. citizen.
“In 2011 and it wasn’t easy. It was long but it was fair you had to go through the proper channels and pay what you have to pay and I came to this town when I got here and that was it,” she said.
She’s worked in Newburyport ever since.
“They’ve always been very nice to me so I can’t picture who would do this,” she added.
The night before the banner was found there was a Lights for Liberty rally to protest the treatment of immigrants at detention centers. Police are still investigating whether or not the two are related.
What is clear is the mayor’s message.
“To take it to the next level and target innocent people is wrong and will always be wrong and we will always step up and denounce these kinds of behaviors,” she said. “This is not typical of Newburyport. We are a progressive, welcoming community and always have been.”