McCain-Palin Attacks Fall Flat with Latinos


The Republican attack machine has launched a multifaceted offensive to falsely accuse Democrat Barack Obama of being anti-immigrant. In Spanish-language ads directed at Latino voters in the battleground states of Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, John McCain wrongly claims Obama blocked the path to legalization. At the same time McCain and the GOP are saying to their far-right base (in English) that Obama and the Democrats in general are “soft” on “illegal immigration.”

The Spanish ads, which also appeared in the swing state of Virginia which has a growing Latino population, blame Obama and colleagues in the Senate for “poison pill” amendments to the comprehensive immigration bill that resulted in its defeat, meaning, the ads say, “no path to citizenship, no secure borders and no reform.”

On July 14 at the National Council of La Raza, when pressed by audience questions on having backed off support for legalization in favor of “enforcement first,” McCain responded accusing Obama and labor of killing comprehensive reform in 2007.

In reality, Obama voted for the reforms in 2006 and 2007. He did support an amendment to end guest worker provisions after five years. Guest worker programs are used by corporations to drive wages down and pit worker against worker. Even so, Obama was joined by Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida in that vote. In limiting guest worker programs, Obama was trying to make the bill more worker- and family-friendly. The bill was eventually killed by Republican opposition.

Many say McCain has shifted from his “moderate” approach to immigration, caving in to the far-right wing of the GOP. His running mate, Sarah Palin, is even more anti-immigrant than McCain, they charge.

Speaking at a Sept. 10 meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Obama reinforced his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform with a legalization component. “This election is about the 12 million people living in the shadows, the communities taking immigration enforcement into their own hands,” he said. “They are counting on us to stop the hateful rhetoric filling our airwaves and rise above the fear, and rise above the demagoguery, and finally enact comprehensive immigration reform.”

As the McCain ads hit the airwaves, the anti-immigrant group Fair American Immigration Reform (FAIR) started a two-day “Put their feet to the fire” lobby effort on Capitol Hill featuring right-wing talk show personalities. On Sept. 11 Lou Dobbs hosted a live telecast in support of FAIR and the Republican platform, which says immigration is primarily a “national security issue,” implying that immigrants are terrorists.

In addition, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids at workplaces across the nation have escalated, adding to an atmosphere that serves the Republican agenda.

America’s Voice, a coalition that supports comprehensive, humanitarian immigration reform, denounced the anti-Obama ads and FAIR’s new campaign at a September 15 press conference. It has bought a full-page ad in the Washington Post exposing FAIR’s extremist background, links and policies.

rosalio-munoz-4.gifJohn Trasvina of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund told the press the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda had urged McCain to fight the GOP’s anti-immigrant planks in its platform. They got no response, he said, and the platform passed the GOP convention unanimously. Trasvina said the GOP platform had language that would “split families,” exclude undocumented taxpayers from the 2010 Census and close the door on access to higher education for children who do not have a Social Security number.

Rosalio Muñoz

Rosalio Muñoz is a lifelong a activist and writer for Chicano/Latino and progessive issues starting at UCLA where he was the first Chicano Student President in 68-69. He refused induction Sept 16, 1969 and chaired the National Chicano Moratorium Committee in 1970-71. He has been active on peace, immigration, anti poor people removal, anti police abuse, minority representation, tenants rights y mas. Currently he is the coordinator of Latinos for Peace and Southern California Correspondent for the People’s Weekly World

Poster by Aaron Trask


  1. Wiam says

    Gallop polls shows a recent increase in Hispanic support of McCain. His dishonest advertisements must be working.

    We need to talk to our relatives and friends about why we’re supporting Obama, and we need to do so quickly, before they become entrenched against him by exposure to McCain’s lies.

    If you know people in battleground states, especially Florida, call them this week.

    Talk is the anti-lie. Don’t let the GOP win by cheating, again.

  2. says

    America is bleeding.

    “Each and every one of us has our own way of relating to the universe. We beseech or hosanna or meditate. Some of us feel nature is the governing principle. Some of us feel there is no governing principle.

    It is what makes this country rich. It is also what undermines America. In a land that should take great joy in the differences of its people — and in the knowledge that those differences are what make us strong — we generally choose to fear diversity while wallowing in our own stupidity. For a country where so many believe in some sort of God, we seem, as a whole, to have more faith in our ignorance. We seem to find a shared comfort in our fear of those who don’t share our beliefs.” -Lewis Black

    Because they fear true freedom, tolerance, and individuality, the McCain/Palin ticket must not succeed. There are too many ugly, destructive, backwards, descrimatory and secretive good-ol-white-boy things going on without honesty or accountability or productive, practical follow-through.

    Obama’s message is more true to where we would strive to be as a nation and more fully embraces the collective individuality that makes America and her people strong and amazing, like no other country in the world.

    This is no time for petty arguing or knee-jerk “history” making based on race or gender. We as a nation of individuals are tasked with making one of the most important decisions of our lifetime. We are at a crux of impossible global crises and opting to choose candidates who do not have the forward thinking interests of the global community at large foremost in their minds would be a dire mistake.

    Meant as no direct admonition, it is simply time for all of us to graduate from adolescent high school pep-rally mentality and evolve.

    Write your newspaper, write your representatives, do everything you can to show that the intelligent majority has a voice after all!

    US House of Representatives – Find your representative:

    US Congress – Find your congressperson:

  3. Georgia says

    Do you notice that every time there is a major ‘sweep’ of a slaughter house or some other low paying, highly dangerous job, that only the immigrants are prosecuted/persecuted?
    These are the companies that spend large amounts of money to go to the interior of Mexico and bus back to their huge plants the most defenseless workers. Workers too afraid to say anything if they lose a hand while working 15 hr days for 1/2 the minimum wage. The Republicans always go around making huge crack downs on immigrants right before an election, on any level. But NEVER IS THE BUSINESS FINED SIGNIFICANTLY, and a few months later after the dust settles they have new, desperate workers. It is almost guaranteed that the owners of these huge agri-businesses are all Republicans, and they should be prosecuted.

  4. Kwaayesnama says

    That’s funny because I will not vote for a dumb president!

    But I will vote for a black president.

    Lets see my choice is John McCain or that smart black man Barack Obama?

    McCain who does not know how to use a computer but is willing to learn if we elect him – I’ll just vote for that smart black man.

    My Choices are: John McCain who says the economic downturn is psychological? – Na! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    McCain who says you are better off under George Bush? – Nope I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Mc Cain who wants to continue killing more people looking for weapons of mass destruction that do not exist? – Gee! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    McCain who believes that we should stay the course but is not willing to support the people he puts in harms way. – I’ll take a chance on the smart black man.

    Should I vote for a man that does not know that 9-11 was caused by Osama Bin Laden not Sedam Hussein? – Easy! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man who does not know if the Sunnis or Sheits are our enemies? – No way I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man who helped put our government on the China, Saudi Arabia credit card? – Not a chance I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man with the worst temper in the Senate to have his finger on the nuclear button? – No way – I’M VOTING FOR THE SMART BLACK MAN, Barack Obama.

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