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My last post on election campaign ads focused exclusively on Republican candidates using anti-immigrant scare-tactics to score points with the electorate. But now even Democrats are doing the same.
Representative Walt Minnick (ID-1) is using the issue of immigration to attack Idaho’s first Latino congressional candidate, Raul Labrador. His latest campaign ad focuses on how Raul Labrador thinks “illegal immigration” is good business and how the immigration attorney has done extensive work around helping “illegal immigrants” stay in the United States. Labrador is also quoted as stating that he likes the broken immigration system because he makes money due to it, which is probably an immigration lawyer joke, though decidedly true for many in the business. The ad finishes with “illegal immigration may be good for Labrador but that makes him wrong for Idaho.”
Minnick stopped short of pulling a “Willie Horton,” unlike Sharron Angle and David Vitter who took it all the way with their supposedly scary stock photo of Mexicans. But demonizing immigrants is simply wrong. His ad sends the message that undocumented immigrants are not actual human beings who live and contribute to our communities, but criminals who deserve neither due process considerations nor basic human rights.
Now, Minnick and Labrador harbor similar sentiments on the immigration issue in that they are both “tough on immigration” (spineless on immigrant rights). Neither one of them really deserve the Hispanic vote. Walt Minnick is now a far cry from the candidate who supported comprehensive immigration reform. Now his campaign is touting support from Numbers USA, an anti-immigrant organization. Labrador actually voted to make English the state’s official language and hardly speaks Spanish in public. After all, for a Latino congressional candidate to succeed in Idaho, he has to be decidedly white.
It is easier to play on the sentiments of Americans facing hard economic times and job losses than initiate real change to fix these problems. Even at the bottom of the economic ladder, (undocumented) immigrants become an easy scapegoat for anti-immigrant demagogues. But it is 2010. Ideally, Americans should easily recognize the racial connotations and anti-immigrant sentiment in these campaign ads and reject every candidate who dares to go against America’s need for immigrants from all walks of life.
Photo and Video Credit: WaltforCongress