New Spanish ad hits Obama on deportations: “He’s not committed to immigrants; he only wants our vote”
A hard-hitting ad from a conservative group is meant to drive down enthusiasm for Obama.
Last week, we noted that President Obama and his allies are outspending Mitt Romney by a whopping 12-1 margin on the Spanish-language airwaves. That led us to wonder whether Obama was essentially defining Romney to Latino voters before he could define himself.
While Romney has slowly begun to enter the Spanish-language air war, it appears that conservative outside spending groups are also beginning to get into the game:
Nevada Hispanics, an spin-off group of American Principles in Action (a 501(c)(4) group that is permitted to accept anonymous donations while engaging in some political activity), will air an ad on Spanish networks Univision and Telefutura in Las Vegas for two weeks beginning Wednesday.
The ad will also appear on Spanish-language radio, according to Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.
The 30-second spot attacks Obama for his immigration enforcement policies, which have led to record numbers of deportations during his first term, and not aggressively pursuing immigration reform.
“He’s not committed to immigrants; he only wants our vote,” the ad says.
The ad also dismisses Obama’s decision to halt deportations for young undocumented immigrants as “a temporary solution that still cheats them of legal status.”
“Why didn’t he keep his promise to push immigration reform?”
An English version can be found here.
Intended or not, the ad appears to be designed to dampen enthusiasm for Obama among Latino voters in Nevada. The ad paints Obama’s immigration record in an extremely negative fashion, yet makes no mention of Romney or Republicans.
Alfonso Aguilar, a long-time Republican activist who is behind the ad, said that it’s part of his group’s effort to “build trust” among Nevada Latinos and eventually convince them to consider supporting Romney, not simply drive voters away from Obama.
“We want people to vote, but we don’t want people to reward someone who has let us down,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s not to suppress voting at all, it’s to encourage voting.”
The ad comes as Obama leads Romney by wide margins among Latino voters both in Nevada and nationwide. But some observers have noticed a reduction in enthusiasm for Obama compared to his 2008 campaign, which saw record turnout from Latino voters that helped propel Obama to victory in several key battleground states.
One of the reasons for that is the lack of progress on immigration reform, coupled with the increased deportations. Certain Latino groups and community leaders have expressed disenchantment over the past few years.
It remains unclear whether the strategy will have its desired effect. Polls show that Latinos still approve of Democrats’ handling of immigration issues over Republicans, who back tough immigration enforcement measures and generally do not support immigration reform that would grant a special pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Even though Romney appeared to turn off Latinos during the GOP presidential primary with his tough talk on immigration, that’s no reason for Republicans to back off Obama, Aguilar said.
“What we are doing here is hopefully what other conservatives and Republicans should catch on. There is no reason we should be on the defensive on the issue of immigration,” he said.
Aguilar acknowledged that Republicans “have a Latino problem” but said “at least we are starting to address it.”
But it’s been difficult for Republicans to make a dent. Latino activists in Nevada appeared emboldened by Obama’s decision to grant temporary legal status to young undocumented immigrants who apply.
“It’s so amazing,” Astrid Silva who was brought illegally to the United States by her Mexican mother at the age of 4, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This is what we’ve been fighting for, but we cannot stop here.”
And polling data showed a boost in enthusiasm for Obama due to his new deportation decision among Nevada Latino voters, who primarily hail from the Mexican-American community that has frequently dealt with the nation’s immigration system.
Latinos in Nevada have trended Democrat in recent years, and major support from Latino voters in the Silver State helped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) win reelection in 2010 even though he was considered vulnerable.
That year, in an effort to suppress Latino turnout, a conservative group dubbed “Latinos for Reform” aired a controversial ad that directly encouraged Latinos not to vote due to the lack of progress on immigration reform, placing the blame on Democrats.
“If they didn’t keep their promise on immigration reform, then they can’t count on our vote,” the ad said. “Don’t vote this November, this is the only way to send them a clear message.”
The ad drew scorn from Republicans and Latino groups and was taken off the air.
The newest ad doesn’t go that far, urging Latinos to “make your vote count” in November.
(Photo: Screenshot, YouTube)