Angry Hispanics scold Democrats over ad mixing illegals, terror
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) on Aug. 16 pulled an ad from its Web site after Hispanic groups accused Democrats of unfairly equating illegal aliens to terrorists.
“To liken Latino immigrants to bazooka-toting terrorists not only undermines the positive relationship our party has with this community, but it also lowers us to a despicable level as breeders of unfounded fear and hatred,” Houston City Council member Carol Alvarado, a Democrat, said in a letter to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who heads the DSCC.
The 35-second ad, released on its Web site earlier in the week, criticizes the Bush administration as leaving America unsecured by showing illegal aliens scaling a border fence. That scene is mixed with images of Osama bin Laden and North Korean President Kim Jong-il.
While the DSCC did not publicly apologize for the ad, it had been removed from the site by the evening of Aug. 16 and replaced with another. All links to the ad that had worked throughout the day also went dead.
The ad is part of a Democratic effort to bolster support on security issues, on which they have long been perceived as weak and Republicans have been perceived as strong.
“Security Under Bush and GOP?” flashes on the screen at the start, followed by scenes of terrorists, bin Laden, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and footage from recent terrorist attacks. With disconcerting music in the background, the words “4 times as many terrorist attacks in 2005” appears on screen.
As the music continues, the ad goes directly into footage of a person climbing over a border fence as the words “millions more illegal immigrants” appear on the screen. In the next scene, Mr. Kim appears with a passing tank. “North Korea has quadrupled its nuclear arsenal” flashes across the screen.
Pedro Celis, chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, said: “Equating these undocumented migrants to the very real threats of terrorism is inexcusable and only serves to fan the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment in our country.”
The last frames of the ad contain the words, “Feel safer? Vote for change.”
“This is the same kind of fear mongering we condemn in the extreme media, and now we are seeing it at the DSCC,” said Lisa Navarrete, spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza. “It’s appalling.”
Gerry Birnberg, chairman of the Harris County, Texas, Democratic Party, also wrote Mr. Schumer to denounce the ad, according to the Houston Chronicle. He called for an end to donations to the DSCC.
“Give money to the candidates, but not the [committee] because they’re just wasting it,” he said.
DSCC spokesman Phil Singer told the Associated Press in an emailed statement that the Republican National Hispanic Assembly was “trying to gloss over the White House’s abysmal record on security.”
“This group’s time would be better spent pressuring reluctant Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.