Originally Posted on Friday, October 8, 2010 (Note: We have had some issues with the web hosting service, so the site has been down for some time over the weekend. We are working to restore content.)
As Bender Bending Gonzalez reminded us a few weeks ago, when Senator Reid opted to bring up the DREAM Act for a vote as an amendment to the defense authorization, he could be considered both a hero and a villain. Well, this week his GOP opponent Sharron Angle has painted him the villain, running an ad that takes a stab at the Senator’s support of the DREAM Act. Angle has even gone so far to demonize Latinos by using stock photos of people in Mexico, who had not even arrived in the United States, thereby making her label of these men as “illegal” inaccurate and obviously highlighting her campaign’s need to appeal to hatred and racism. Let’s not forget that people of any race, color, ethnicity could be “illegal aliens”, but Angle has chosen to place Latino immigrants in the crosshairs.
I should note that the federal DREAM Act would provide undocumented youth conditional residency, and those who would qualify must have good moral character (no criminal record) and have earned a GED or high school diploma. They would then have to earn a two year college degree (or equivalent) or complete two years of military service. Whether they qualify for federal work study and/or state aid would depend upon meeting a set of criteria and depend upon how states would award their grants to students in this category. Furthermore, the issue of in-state tuition would be determined at the state level. So Angle’s ad is misleading because it says that Senator Reid is fighting for a program that would give “preferred college tuition rates to illegal aliens.”
Adam Serwer writes that this ad appeals to the “racial animus against Latinos” in a portrayal rivaling the infamous Willie Horton ad used against Michael Dukakis in 1988. I agree. Sharron Angle is stoking the flames of hatred and attempting to mislead the voters of Nevada, and she has sunk to a new low labeling people as “illegal aliens” when in fact they had been photographed in Mexico (it is not known if the men in this stock photo ever entered the US). This type of ad is one that the GOP needs to condemn, and Latinos of every political affiliation need to push back against this kind of messaging.
Cuéntame, a project of the Brave New Foundation, has already created a response to Sharron Angle’s hit piece: