The letterhead on the threatening notes sent to Latinos in Orange County is very similar to a group advocating tougher enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.
California's Attorney General is investigating a letter recently mailed to some people with Latino surnames in Orange County, warning that they could be arrested or deported if they vote in the November election.
The letter, written in Spanish, was on stationery resembling that of a well-known group pushing for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, tighter border controls and changes to federal immigration policies.
But the organization, called the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, says it had nothing to do with the letter.
The letter warns newly registered immigrants and naturalized citizens that they could be arrested or deported for voting on November 7. Some in the Latino community say it’s a bald-faced attempt to suppress Latino voter turnout in Orange County.
"If someone tells you that you are a thief, [but] you are not a thief, how do you feel? You feel intimidated," says Benny Diaz, a naturalized U.S. citizen who's running for a seat on the Garden Grove City Council.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, himself a naturalized citizen, called the letter racist and urged state Attorney General Bill Lockyer to prosecute the offense as a hate crime.