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Ad Tells Latinos Not to Vote in Congressional Elections

Latinos for Reform released two ads today with a very different message from many of the ads aimed at Latino voters this political season: Its ads urge Latinos to vote for local and state candidates but to stop short of casting a ballot for Congress. The idea is to send a message to national politicians — and Democrats in particular — that Latino voters demand action on immigration reform, according to the ad. But is it really a good idea to not vote?

Latino voters helped elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress in 2008 and have little to show for it in the way of immigration reform, despite Obama’s campaign promise to pass immigration reform within his first year. But given the opposition to nearly every immigration-related proposal from the current class of congressional Republicans, a Republican-led Congress seems even less likely to pass measures like the DREAM Act, which would allow some illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children to earn legal status through education or military service.

That’s not the stance Latinos for Reform takes. “Clearly, the Democratic leadership betrayed us,” the ad states. “And now, when they need our votes, they are at it again with more empty promises. Aren’t you tired of politicians playing games with your future?”

Here’s the ad:

Whether Obama and the Democrats should be blamed for the lack of comprehensive immigration legislation is up for debate, but most pro-immigration reform groups have argued that participation in the midterms is especially important for Latino voters because of Republican opposition to immigration reform.

The Latinos for Reform ad may be more along the lines of voter sentiment, though, at least according to polling data. The Pew Hispanic Center found this month that Latino voters were considerably less likely to say they would vote in the midterms than voters overall. The lack of enthusiasm may be because immigration reform efforts failed: A July poll showed that many Latino voters who supported immigration reform would stay home from the polls if it was not passed.

Update: Latinos for Reform is run by Robert Deposada, a conservative political consultant. But he claimed to Politico the ads are not disingenuous because he also opposes some Republican candidates, such as Harry Reid-challenger Sharron Angle. “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.

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