After we posted a news story from local Colorado TV about a gas station that was caught selling an “Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permit” sticker, we wanted to reach out the the company that distributes the product. This afternoon we called Central States Novelty, based in Hays, KS. After identifying ourselves, the woman on the phone said, “No comment,” and hung up on us.
According to its website, Central States Novelty “is one of, if not the largest, wholesale supplier of novelties, gifts, and general merchandise for the convenience store and truck stop industry in the Midwest. All of our products are guaranteed against defects, and our Mercandisers [sic] that service our customers’ stores are the Best in the Business.”
Apparently this is not the first time that this type of product have been in the news. According to the Huffington Post, a petition submitted last year to CafePress by Victor Hoelscher called for CP to “cease sale and distribution of the racist ‘illegal alien hunting permits.’”
“This product has absolutely no use other than to spread, incite, promote and justify racial hatred, violence, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred based on intolerance and to demonize immigrants as invaders who should be shot on sight,” Hoelscher wrote. “There is no place in today’s society for a corporation that seeks to profit from invoking dehumanizing, racist stereotypes and bigotry.”
The HuffPost article did not mention the name of the sticker’s distributor, nor did a similar story from Wisconsin, which also led to a local Yorkville gas station to remove “illegal immigrant hunting permits” from its shelves:
A planned protest at a gas station decrying the sale of bumper stickers reading illegal immigrant hunting permit’ has since become an event to honor the store owner for his swift action to remove them.
“I’m not in a business of offending my customers,” said Bob Basil, owner of Citgo Auto Truck Plaza, 611 S. Sylvania Ave.
Immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera had planned to picket Basil’s business at 2:15 p.m. today but has since changed the plan to present him with a civic business award.
“Beyond appreciating him, we think it’s an opportunity to encourage similar businesses to be more morally responsible,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Voces executive director.
It cannot be determined that all three stickers were distributed by Central States Novelty, but there is no doubt that the product concept is very similar across all three examples. Even though Central States Novelty would not comment on our story, their website still lists an address and phone number, in case anyone wants to talk with them. Somos rebeldes.