Officials in Utah are reviewing whether a license plate with an "aggressive and confrontational" message about deportation has violated their guidelines after someone posted a photograph of it online.
Matt Pacenza, whose profile indicates he's a public school English teacher, asked on Twitter how the license was approved according to Utah guidelines.
Hey @utahdld, how does this plate I just saw not violate your guidelines? #utpol https://t.co/zFDfm8IHxp https://t.co/kt3S2KBh2z— Matt Pacenza (@Matt Pacenza)1578610912.0
The plate reads, "DEPORTM."
Utah Tax Commission spokesperson Tammy Kikuchi said they were considering recalling the plate.
"We're not sure how it got through," Kikuchi said to the Salt Lake Tribune. "We're really quite surprised."
She said the license was approved in 2015, under a different DMV director.
Pacenza, the man who spotted the plate, vaguely explained what he found offensive about the plate.
"It jumped out at me because of how aggressive and confrontational and political the message was," Pacenza said.
"I'm used to personalized plates being whimsical or playful or personal: GOUTES or DOGMAMA or SKILOVE or something. This felt significantly different," he added.
Utah state Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R) explained on Twitter that free expression rights didn't extend to messages on license plates.
"A private citizen has a first amendment right to say offensive things," Thatcher tweeted. "The State does not, and has rules about license plates. I believe those rules have been violated here. Hopefully Tax Commission agrees."