Graffiti at San Antonio missions echoes controversial jacket worn by first lady

Phrases include 'I don't care, do you,' and 'F*** ICE'

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - Politically motivated messages written in spray paint were discovered at Mission San Jose and Mission San Juan early Friday morning with messages including "I don't care, do you?"

Some of the graffiti echoed the "I really don't care. Do u?" message printed on the back of first lady Melania Trump's jacket as she boarded a plane to visit migrant children in South Texas on Thursday.

The message on Trump's jacket sparked outrage and criticism from many who felt that the jacket was an indirect message on the immigration crisis.

Other messages written on the missions included "F--- ICE," along with indistinguishable characters.

Diana Aguirre, a spokeswoman for the Old Spanish Missions, Inc. of San Antonio's Archdiocese said that the National Park Service does not cover damage to the outside of the church, so the Park Service was unable to immediately address the damage. The missions are part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

"It's unfortunate because this church (Mission San Juan) was finished just a few years ago," Aguirre said. "We did all the major restorations."

At least four instances of graffiti were observed throughout the two sites. Aguirre said Friday morning that crews are soaking the graffiti before scrubbing it off.

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National Park Service cameras may have captured the taggers. If those responsible are caught, they face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $500.

The messages appear to be in response to the ongoing border crisis. On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending family separations at the border.

"As you can see on the right side, that they're trying to make a political statement," Aguirre said. "So it's just upsetting to see they used our missions as a canvas for that."

Aguirre said that she wept when she saw the defaced property.

"It hurts," Aguirre said. "It hurts a lot." 

Mission San Juan's pastor, Father James Galvin, said that he lives on-site and heard people passing through around 1:20 and 2:30 a.m. Friday, but didn't think anything of it because some people visit in the early hours to photograph the missions at night.

"It's happened over the years," Galvin said. "My attitude was here we go again: people who can't respect a sacred place. It's a World Heritage Site now. Maybe they don't even know that."

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