As the presidential election draws closer, many people are preparing for a Donald Trump victory. In South Austin, a dating site launched an ad campaign to capitalized on the expected deportations of illegal immigrants. They put up a billboard that urges women in the country illegally to “get a sugar daddy” and avoid deportation.
The site, Arrangement Finders, advertises itself as a service that “connects men and women looking for mutually beneficial arrangements.” Fox 7 in Austin reports that men on the site pay a monthly fee, while women are allowed to sign up for free.
The site’s controversial ad was posted on October 14th and is expected to stay up for four weeks, according to the local news station. The billboard reads, “Undocumented Immigrant? Before You Get Deported, Get a Sugar Daddy,” and it is just off highway I-35 near Frontage Road.
However, it turns out that the billboard wasn’t wanted in several other locations — including one of the city’s largest neighbors, Dallas.
“We had a couple approvals, but we got a lot more denials,” said Jacob Webster, chief marketing officer for the site. “All the major markets in terms of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Dallas denied us.”
Webster told KEYE-TV that he decided to run the ad in response to the Republican presidential candidate’s claim that he’d deport 11 million immigrants that are currently in the country illegally. He also told several stations that a third of the company’s users are Hispanic women, which factored into the company’s ad campaign.
“How could we speak to this growing demographic for this site in a way where we could get the max effect?” Webster asked.
Thomas Esparza Jr., an Austin-based lawyer who specializes in immigration and nationality law, told Fox 7 that the site is encouraging people to commit a federal felony: marriage fraud.
“It’s insulting to foreign nationals who are in the removal process,” Esparza said. “It presumes that foreign nationals are going to commit a crime, or are more willing to commit a crime, and that they’re going to go to a website to participate in committing that crime.”
Webster said there’s no reason to take it down. “There’s a demand for this sort of thing, as we’re getting X amount of sign-ups due to the fact that this billboard is up,” he said.
The company launched back in 2009, and now has about 3.9 million members in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia.
Even though ArrangementFinders.com did not mean for the billboard to be perceived as racist, many are questioning the provocative message.