"We make kids disappear. - I.C.E."
A billboard for a junk removal company in Emeryville was vandalized Wednesday with the words that appeared to be related to President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.
The word "kids" replaced the word "junk" and the phone number to Rubbish Boys Disposal Service Inc. was covered with "- I.C.E." or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The words appeared next to an image of child with a surprised expression on the billboard.
A group of activists INDECLINE claimed responsibility for the vandalism and filmed the entire process. It comes amid national outrage over the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.
"There’s deportations and separations without a lot of information being handed over to their respective family members and so in essence, you could draw a conclusion that kids are disappearing," a member of INDECLINE told NBC Bay Area.
The group says they came up with the idea overnight and finished the vandalism in 30 minutes.
The billboard drew some traffic where it was located along I-80. It also drew mixed reactions from Emeryville residents before it was replaced by Thursday afternoon.
“I had to see was it real? That’s crazy," said one resident Dante Anderson.
Another resident, Adrian Santos, said "This is a bunch of activists that are trying to bring light to injustices around the world."
INDECLINE has been vandalizing billboards since 2001. One of the most recent campaigns involved altering a Las Vegas billboard inviting tourists to fire high-powered assault-style rifles to read, "Shoot A School Kid Only $29."
“We risked not just our safety but our freedom to draw attention to a particular issue," the anonymous INDECLINE member said.
“At the end of the day, a piece of Billboard vinyl that can be easily replaced is a very, very small cost. Of course, it’s not more important than the lives of these families and specifically, these children," he said.
Emeryville Police Department said vandalism is a crime but a "petty" one compared to separating families. They also said there's no open investigation because the owner of the billboard hasn't filed a police report.
ICE and Rubbish Boys Disposal Service Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Family Separation at the Border, Explained
In the last few weeks, controversial immigration policies resulted in the separation of thousands of families who attempted to cross the border. President Donald Trump reversed himself, but not before 2,342 children were taken from their parents, according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security.
Data: DHS, HHS
Interactive: Peter Andringa, Sabrina Cheung/NBC; Reporting: Noreen O'Donnell/NBC