This post first appeared on Think Progress. First, Republican senatorial candidate Sharron Angle ran offensive images of menacing Latino men with flashlights walking along a fence alongside a snapshot of an innocent looking white family in order to make the point that her opponent Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is the “best friend an illegal alien ever had.” Then her campaign released a second commercial with a new image of scowling Latino men juxtaposed against a photo of white college graduates. Despite the fact that her ads have sparked outrage in the Latino community, Angle has decided to continue with her anti-Latino campaign theme. In her newest attack ad, Angle pits brown against white in order to make the case that Reid is a friend of dark-skinned, scary looking “illegal aliens” and an enemy of white Nevadans like her: Watch it: Angle’s third ad is especially surprising considering the fact that many outlets are reporting that Latinos may decide the tight Nevada senatorial race. “Angle has made few friends among Latinos after she supported neighboring Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law, the strictest in the nation to curb illegal immigrants. And as polling day gets closer, her gaffes and missteps are helping to bring the Latino vote out for Reid,” reported Reuters last week. Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.
This post first appeared on Think Progress. Earlier today, ThinkProgress reported that Latinos for Reform — a Republican 527 group — purchased an $80,000 buy on Univision to air ads urging Nevada Latino voters not to vote. We urged Univision not to air the ads. The network, which heads the non-partisan Latino civic participation campaign, Ya Es Hora, has decided to do the right thing and not broadcast the ads. A Univision spokesperson told ThinkProgress:
Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting. It is also important to clarify that while Mr. Robert de Posada has on occasion provided political commentary on Univision, representing one of various points of views, he is not in any way affiliated with Univision. Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote.
Univision’s decision likely has something to do with the fact that Robert de Posada wants to tell their viewers that the best way for Latinos to exercise their political power in support of immigration reform is to stay at home this November — a message that runs counter to its own GOTV efforts. ThinkProgress did some digging into de Posada’s group, and here’s what we found. To begin with, the group’s 8872 form lists the same P.O. Box number as the one belonging to the Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann Foundation, an organization founded by the chairman of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), Roy F. Hoffmann. For those who don’t recall, SBVT was another 527 group formed during the 2004 elections aimed at opposing Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) presidential bid by distorting and misrepresenting his war record. De Posada told Talking Points Memo the address was a “mistake”: “In 2008, because the laws were so strange, we hired a political compliance company that handled our reporting and accounting.” The connection doesn’t stop at a P.O. Box. Latinos for Reform, the Hoffmann Foundation, and SBVT have all employed the services of the same consulting firm, Political Compliance Services. Susan Arceneaux, a “long time aide of Dick Armey” heads the company. The firm markets itself as “an accounting services vendor specializing in FEC regulations. Our comprehensive approach to your individual accounting needs will deliver you from the headaches and legal ramifications of FEC non-compliance.” Latinos for Reform hasn’t filed anything with the IRS since April 2, 2009. Latinos for Reform’s post-election 2008 report also lists an expenditure of $1,203 that went towards Paul Sullivan & Associates, a law firm recommended by the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA). Finally, John T. Finn, who donated a total of $70,000 to Latinos for Reform, is listed as a “Producer & publisher” on the group’s contribution form. However, the address attached to his name also belongs to Pro-Life America and
Update De Posada shot back by simply accusing Univision of succumbing to Democratic pressure. "They got a little bit of pressure from the Democratic Party and they pulled it off," he said.
This post first appeared on Think Progress. Yesterday, Latinos for Reform — a Republican 527 group — announced that it purchased an $80,000 buy on Univision to air ads urging Nevada Latino voters not to vote. Robert Desposada, a conservative political consultant and political analyst for Univision, has described the ad as an expression of the Latino community’s frustration with the lack of immigration reform. Apparently, telling Latino voters not to vote will somehow empower them. “It’s the only way for Hispanics to stand up and demand some attention,” Desposada claims. “I can’t ask people to support a Republican candidate who has taken a completely irresponsible and bordering on racist position on immigration,” he said about senatorial candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV). (As a side note, the ad doesn’t mention Angle or the fact that Republicans have been obstructing reform for the past year). Watch the ad in English and in Spanish: The big question is: Why is Univision even airing this ad? Obviously, Univision is a private company, not a public interest organization. It is free to air the ads of whomever it wants. However, it seems odd that the network would accept $80,000 to air a message that isn’t just fundamentally at odds with its own self-professed mantra, but also directly contradicts the goals of a campaign it has already invested significant resources in. Univision is a critical partner in the non-partisan Latino civic participation campaign, Ya Es Hora. According to the campaign’s website, Ya Es Hora “represents the largest and most comprehensive effort to incorporate Latinos as full participants in the American political process.” The Wonk Room also points out Univision Communications PAC has donated money to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and has more on the network’s voter outreach efforts. In 2008, Latinos for Reform aired ads “alleging that Obama puts African Americans before Latinos and Africa before Latin America.”
This post first appeared on Think Progress. This weekend, California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman (R-CA) and Jerry Brown (D-CA) squared off in a debate hosted by Univision for Spanish-speaking audiences. During the debate, Whitman reiterated her commitment to cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. However, Brown noted Whitman has yet to even take any responsibility for her employment of Nicky Diaz Santillan — who came out this week saying Whitman employed her for nine years and knew she was an undocumented immigrant, but turned a blind eye:
WHITMAN: We have got to get our arms around illegal immigration and I’ve got a good plan. [...] We have to hold employers accountable, all employers accountable for hiring only documented workers. We need a better e-verify system. Three strikes and you’re out, pay a fine, and lose your business license. If we do not hold employers accountable we will never get our arms around this very challenging problem. BROWN: Now talking about cracking down Ms. Whitman obviously didn’t crack down on herself. [...] Meg, I didn’t want to hit you on this, but when you try to evade responsibility, you’re going around the state saying, employers must be accountable for hiring unlawful people. There ought to be raids on businesses. There’s no path to citizenship, no path. [...] Don’t run for governor if you can’t stand up on your own two feet and say, hey, I made a mistake, I’m sorry, let’s go on from here.
Watch it: Whitman has flatly denied Diaz Santillan’s allegations this whole week, saying she stopped employing Nicky Diaz Santillan as soon as she learned of her immigration status. However, Diaz Santillan’s lawyer produced a handwritten note from Whitman’s husband from 2003 which suggests the family knew of Santillan’s status for years. Irrespective of when Whitman discovered Diaz Santillan’s immigration status, Whitman has failed to reconcile her zero-tolerance immigration policies with her own, possibly honest, mistake. Brown noted that, instead, Whitman’s response to the controversy has focused on attacking him: “You have blamed her [Diaz Santillan], blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions, but you don’t take accountability and you can’t be a leader unless you’re willing to stand on your own two feet and say, yeah, I made a mistake and I’m going on from here.” Besides cracking down on employers, Whitman indicated that she will not support comprehensive immigration reform or a path to legalization until “there are no more illegal immigrants coming across the border.” She additionally expressed her opposition to the DREAM Act, which would legalize young undocumented students, while also telling Univision’s audience that she’s the best person to fix the education system for Latinos.
This post first appeared on Think Progress. Back in April Mexican President Felipe Calderón pleaded to a joint session of U.S. Congress for more help in limiting the flow of weapons to Mexico. “Believe me, many of these guns are not going to honest American hands,” said Calderón. Earlier this week, a report released based on Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) data and prepared by the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns justified Calderón’s cry for help, revealing that three out of four recovered guns used in crimes in Mexico can be traced to gun stores in the U.S. Today Calderón told Univision Al Punto anchor Maria Elena Salinas that U.S. lawmakers are not only failing to address immigration or the drug trade, they also aren’t doing enough to stop the flow of weapons across the border:
CALDERON: The principle thing we have in common with Colombia is that we suffer from the consumption of drugs of the United States — we’re both victims of the enormous consumption of drugs by America and now the the sale of arms by the American industry. SALINAS: What is being done to avoid this situation? CALDERON: The Mexican government is confiscating the guns, the American authorities — you’d have to ask them. I haven’t seen much in terms of stopping the flow of guns. [...] The truth is if it weren’t for the flow of weapons from the United States to Mexican criminals and other parts of the world, we wouldn’t be seeing the levels of violence that we’re witnessing. [...] The Americans, rather than regulating or establishing an adequate drug or immigration or arms legislation have allowed organized crime to regulate those markets. And the massacre of San Fernando shows the consequences of not addressing issues that need to be regulated such as immigration, drugs, or weapons.
Watch it: Calderón once again pointed to the expiration of the assault weapons ban in the U.S. as part of the problem, stating, “[t]his problem [drug war] is also a problem of the United States, caused by the consumption of drugs in the United States and now exacerbated by the irresponsable sale of guns in the United States.” The Washington Post reported this past week that “the National Rifle Association…is pushing for legislation that threatens to gut the ATF’s already limited ability to keep illegal guns off the streets.” On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized the role the U.S. plays in Mexico woes. “It’s not only guns; it’s weapons, it’s arsenals of all kinds that come south,” Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations. “So I feel a real sense of responsibility to do everything we can. And again, we’re working hard to come up with approaches that will actually deliver.” Meanwhile, Calderón’s militarization of the drug war has also come under heavy criticism. During the interview, Calderon also touched on immigration policy, without, as the Wonk Room explains, mentioning Mexico’s own complicity in the issue.
This post originally appeared on Think Progress. Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, accusing his office of refusing to turn over records since the DOJ opened its investigation into allegations of racial profiling and civil rights abuse. The DOJ “seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against Maricopa County.” In other words, the DOJ wants a court “to compel access to the requested documents, facilities and personnel.” In its complaint, the DOJ states:
Since March 2009, the United States has attempted to secure Defendants’ voluntary cooperation with the United States’ investigation of alleged national origin discrimination in Defendants’ police practices and jail operations. Despite notice of their obligation to comply in full with the United States’ requests for information, Defendants have refused to do so.Defendants’ refusal to cooperate with reasonable requests for information regarding the use of federal funds is a violation of Defendants’ statutory, regulatory, and contractual obligations.
The suit comes after the DOJ gave Arpaio’s office a September deadline to supply all documents requested for its investigation. Arpaio’s office responded with a letter expressing surprise that the DOJ feels “entitled to any document it wants, to access any facility it wishes, and to interview any witness it wants, without limitation…is simply unreasonable.” A spokeswoman for the Justice Department stated that it’s “unprecedented for an agency to refuse to cooperate with a Title VI investigation.” This is the first time the DOJ has filed a law suit to compel access to documents and facilities. Arizona’s ABC12 News notes that the sheriff’s failure to cooperate could cost the county millions of dollars of federal funding. The FBI has reportedly also launched an investigation into whether Arpaio has been “using his position to settle political vendettas.”
This post first appeared on Think Progress. Politico reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who many previously thought would co-sponsor comprehensive immigration reform this year, is considering radically changing the 14th amendment. Graham may introduce a constitutional amendment that would overturn the portion of the Constitution which states “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” In other words, Graham wants to end the practice of granting citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil. Politico reports:
“I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen.” [...] “I’m a practical guy, but when you go forward, I don’t want 20 million more 20 years from now,” he said. “I want to be fair. I want to be humane. We need immigration policy, but it should be on our terms, not someone else’s. I don’t know how to fix it all. But I do know what makes people mad, that 12 million people came here and there seems to be no system to deal with stopping 20 million 20 years from now.”
Graham wouldn’t be the first lawmaker to introduce legislation that would dramatically alter the 14th amendment. However, similar efforts have been led by Congress’ right-wing demagogues. Graham is now also following in the footsteps of the rabidly right-wing Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce — the sponsor of SB-1070 who plans to “target the mother” by going after the “anchor baby racket.” A few months ago, Graham introduced a framework for immigration reform with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that included a path to legalization for undocumented workers. In March, Graham walked away from the table, calling immigration reform “dead” after health care reform passed. Since then, Graham has joined his fellow Republicans in defending Arizona, blocking immigration reform, and calling for an enforcement-only approach.
This post first appeared on Think Progress. This afternoon, in a long-awaited decision, federal district court judge Susan Bolton enjoined several major provisions of Arizona’s immigration law, SB-1070. While it was speculated that Bolton would block parts of SB-1070 relating to warrantless arrests and document requirements, the judge also ended up striking down the law’s most controversial and significant provision: the requirement that police check immigration status. Bolton blocked the following sections of SB-1070 arguing that “the United States is likely to succeed on the merits in showing that…[they] are preempted by federal law” and the “United States is likely to suffer irreparable harm” in the absence of an injunction:
Portion of Section 2 of S.B. 1070: Requires police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain, or arrest if they reasonably suspect the person is in the country illegally. Section 3 of S.B. 1070: Criminalizes the the failure to apply for or carry immigration documents. Portion of Section 5 of S.B. 1070: Criminalizes the solicitation, application for, or performance of work by an undocumented immigrant. Section 6 of S.B. 1070: Authorizes the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person “removable.”
Bolton also echoed the criticisms made by SB-1070 opponents over the past few months, noting that “requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is check.” She additionally found that the burdensome verification requirement “will divert resources from the federal government’s other responsibilities and priorities.” However, a few problematic sections remain including the one which allows Arizona residents to sue local police if they believe they are not enforcing what remains of SB-1070 and the creation of a separate crime for knowingly transporting an undocumented immigrant under any circumstance, even in an emergency. Ironically, on the recommendation of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) — an ardent proponent of SB-1070 — Bolton was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by President Bill Clinton back in 2000. During her confirmation hearing, Kyl stated:
Well, there is one person in our state who’s a real expert on this in the judiciary, and that’s Judge Bolton. And because of her expertise and fairness, all of the contending interests from Arizona have been willing to place their concerns before her to be resolved, and she is right in the middle of this important litigation right now. They will be very sorry to see her leave in Maricopa County Superior Court bench. So, I have some mixed emotions in helping to nominate or to confirm Judge Bolton, but that’s how highly thought of she is.
Prior to the announcement of her decision, Kyl speculated that “she will parse the law, that is to say she will perhaps extract certain portions of it that she think might be problematic and might enjoin those portions calling additional briefings from the parties.” Before learning of Bolton’s decision, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) stated, “I’m confident Arizona will prevail.” Bolton has been described by her peers as an “impeccable” and “fearless” judge whose rulings are “well-reasoned and unambiguous.”
This morning, on Fox & Friends, anchor Steve Doocy interviewed Fox News Channel owner Rupert Murdoch and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on immigration. In the interview, Murdoch and Bloomberg advocated for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants by making the case that immigrants create, not take away, jobs for Americans. Murdoch stated that the media needs to be used to “keep the pressure on” lawmakers to enact immigration reform:
DOOCY: The country is so gridlocked around this. What can business do that Washington, DC has not been effective in doing so far? MURDOCH: Well you just gotta keep the pressure on the congressmen. You gotta do it on the press and on the television. It’s a political thing. They gotta fess up to it. [...] You gotta recognize that there are millions of bright and intelligent people around the world — whether they are in China or in Hungary or in Germany or something — who want to come to America and live the American Dream. DOOCY: Right, but they can’t. [...] This is a political hot potato. How do get past the partisanship that is out there and is so biting for a while? MURDOCH: I think we can show to the public the benefit of having migrants and the jobs that go with them.
Watch it: The truth is, more than any other network, Fox News does the most to promote the talking points and platforms of those fighting to make sure immigration reform is never a reality. One step Murdoch could take would be pushing his own network to start providing genuinely “fair and balanced” coverage of the immigration issue. In the past, Doocy himself has falsely reported that “a lot of people are coming in” legally. “Just sign the guest book,” he remarked. While Bloomberg asserted on the show that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, Doocy has erroneously reported that a Virginia anti-immigrant ordinance led to a “huge drop in crime.” Though Doocy used the term “undocumented immigrants” in his interview with his boss, he and his colleagues usually prefer calling them “illegals.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg:
  • Media Matters has accused Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck of “serv[ing] up a steady diet of fear, anger, and resentment on the topic of illegal immigration.”
  • O’Reilly has referred to illegal immigration as “an invasion from a foreign country, Mexico, into the United States.”
  • Beck’s way of “keeping the pressure” on lawmakers has been to state that “every undocumented worker is an illegal immigrant, a criminal and a drain on our dwindling resources” and warn his viewers that “amnesty is coming.”
  • In the past week alone, Fox & Friends, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity accused the Department of Labor of “going to bat for illegal immigrants” by enforcing wage theft laws for undocumented workers; Fox News propelled the idea that the Arizona law is needed because “it’s not just drug dealers … we’ve had Middle Easterners coming across that border as well;” and “baselessly” claimed that Democrats are not “committed to securing our borders” despite the fact that, under Obama, the border is reportedly safer than ever.
  • Murdoch and Bloomberg’s efforts are part of a new initiative called the Partnership for a New American Economy — a coalition of chief executives of several major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Disney and News Corp who are pushing for immigration reform that includes a path to legalization. In the group’s press release, Murdoch stated, “Immigrants have made America great as the world leader in business, science, higher education and innovation. As an immigrant myself, I believe that this country can and must enact new immigration policies that fulfill our employment needs, provide a careful pathway to legal status for undocumented residents, and end illegal immigration.” Murdoch is an immigrant from Australia.
    Cross-posted from Think Progress. Last night, the Senate rejected Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) amendment to the $59 billion supplemental spending bill asking for the completion of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border within a year. Before the vote took place, DeMint attempted to persuade his colleagues to vote for his amendment by comparing the influx of undocumented immigrants to the deadly oil spill that is currently poisoning the Gulf of Mexico:
    If any member of the Senate stood up today and said that we should not seal the oil leak in the Gulf until we have a comprehensive plan to clean it up, we would all say that that is absurd. Certainly we need to seal that leak as quickly as possible to minimize the cleanup later. But that is exactly the kind of logic that the President and my Democratic colleagues are using when it comes to immigration. They are insisting that we will not secure our borders until Republicans agree to a comprehensive plan with some form of amnesty and road to citizenship for those who have come here illegally.
    Watch it: Other than the fact that DeMint is offensively equating undocumented immigrants with a toxic gusher of oil, his insulting analogy doesn’t stand. Contrary to what Republicans might claim, there is not a constant flow of undocumented immigrants crossing the border every single second of the day. Immigration from Mexico to the U.S. slowed at least 40 percent between mid-decade and 2008. The Department of Homeland Security has documented that “the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States declined from 11.8 million in January 2007 to 11.6 million in January 2008.” DeMint also attempted to emphasize the toxicity of immigration by citing the violent Mexican drug war. However, FBI statistics show that crime is declining in U.S. border towns across the U.S. Tim Wadsworth, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, studied U.S. cities with more than 50,000 people and found that “the cities that experience the greatest growth in immigration were the same one that were experiencing the greatest declines in violent crime.” What’s absurd is that Republicans like DeMint would rather address the immigration issue with an ineffective and costly band-aid approach. DeMint has introduced similar failed amendments to the financial reform bill and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) $42.9 billion appropriations bill. DeMint was the fourth Republican border security amendment to fail in the past 24 hours. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) was the only Republican who opposed it. More at Wonk Room.