Santa Barbara News-Press offices vandalized after paper runs page one ‘Illegals’ headline

On Saturday, the Santa Barbara News-Press ran this front page headline, “Illegals line up for driver’s licenses.”

On Wednesday night or Thursday morning, somebody left this spray-painted message at the newspaper: “The border is illegal not the people who cross it.”

News-Press news operations director Donald K. Katich says the paper has used “illegals” for years. He calls it “an appropriate term in describing someone as ‘illegal’ if they are in this country illegally” and adds that “when breaking the law becomes the norm, America is no better than other lawless nations.”

Here some passages from a very long paywall-hidden News-Press’ story about the “Illegals” controversy and vandalism:

Someone with apparent open-border sentiments lobbed paint bombs and sprayed graffiti at the headquarters of the Santa Barbara News-Press over the paper using the word “illegals” to describe people in this country illegally. …

At issue is the word “illegals” in a Jan. 3 headline accompanying a story about the state of California granting driving privileges to people who entered the U.S. illegally.

In addition to the News-Press building, graffiti of an open-borders nature was scribbled on the ground in Storke Placita and on a sidewalk near Santa Barbara City Hall.


The incident happened in the run-up to a Thursday night protest over the headline in De la Guerra Plaza. About 100 people turned out, including members of the group People Organizing for the Defense and Equal Rights of Santa Barbara Youth. They seek to assert editorial control by demanding the paper “retract” the headline, apologize and adopt Associated Press style, which, since 2013, has sanctioned variations on the word illegal, including “living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”


Don Katich, News-Press director of news operations, released a statement earlier this week that included this: “It is an appropriate term in describing someone as illegal if they are in this country illegally.

“Ours is a system of laws,” the statement continues, “a system so valued that people from around the world – including many from lawless nations – flock here.”


If reader comments at the end of the piece are any indication, most people sided with calling an illegal an illegal.

There’s Kyle Strauch who congratulated the paper “for using the correct words.”

Said Augustine Beary: “Finally a newspaper that speaks the truth.”

Included on the other side was Bonnie Buchanan Kingry: “The Santa Barbara News Press is known for being a right wing rag, so no surprise here.”

Jorge Acevedo asked, “Do you people really think you are better than people that enter the country illegally? … EVERYONE breaks the law, just not this particular law. So either we are all ‘illegals’ or none of us are.”

* News-Press building defaced over “Illegals” headline ( | (AP)