Utah’s Vanity License Plate Sparks Outrage and Investigation for Alleged Racism

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Utah License Plate Controversy Sparks Debate

Your Source for the 2020 Utah License Plate Deport ’em Controversy

An incident occurred in Utah at the start of 2020 causing significant public debate, stemming from a personalized license plate inscribed with the words ‘deport ’em’. Here, at The Reader Wall, we are dedicated to bringing such stories from our trusted sources to our readers.

License Plate Controversy Emerges

The Utah Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) granted approval for the contested license plate back in 2015. This personalized plate didn’t cause any controversy until January 2020, when a high school teacher named Matt Pacenza took notice and voiced his concern over its message on social media. This post rapidly started circulating, provoking an outpouring of reactions from people who deemed the license plate as objectionable and unfitting to be publically displayed.

Political Intervention

The escalating controversy led to the intervention of several political officials, with Republican State Senator Daniel Thatcher and State Senator Luz Escamilla calling for investigations into the matter. They also called for a review of the DMV’s procedures for approving the wording on personal license plates, according to our sources. To address this, the Utah Legislature’s administrative rules review committee convened a special meeting to deliberate on the issue.

Public Debate and Questions Raised

Expected attendees for the meeting included representatives from both the Tax Commission and the DMV, with the main agenda, our sources report, being a comprehensive review of the DMV’s personalized license plate approval process. This controversial event has raised important questions about the extent and boundaries of free speech and the criteria for determining the acceptability of personalized license plates, sparking an open and much-needed debate on the matter.

Existing Criteria for Personalized License Plates

Information from the Utah DMV, our verified source, indicates that there are specific requirements personal license plates should meet. License plates should not contain any vulgar, derogatory, or obscene language. They also should not be used to express contempt or superiority about race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. Questions are now being raised on how closely these guidelines are being followed, leading to calls for stricter review and more stringent enforcement.


This event has brought forth complex and vital questions about freedom of expression, necessitating a thorough review of how public entities enforce these important principles. The ensuing debate in the aftermath of the ‘deport ’em’ controversy is a reminder of how closely these issues touch the lives of Utah’s citizens. At The Reader Wall, we continue to follow important issues like these, providing our readers with timely and comprehensive coverage drawn from our reliable sources.


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