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Man Behind the ‘Don’t Vote’ Ads Explains, Again, Why Latinos Shouldn’t Vote

The Republican behind the “Don’t Vote” ads aimed at Latino voters came out with a follow-up video explaining why his original spot wasn’t meant to help the GOP in the midterm elections. His argument, according to the Las Vegas Sun: Latino voters should skip out on the Nov. 2 elections to send a message to Congress, who might then push for immigration reform during a lame-duck session to start building campaign fodder for 2012.

“Immigration reform is not a Republican or Democratic issue: Both parties have failed the Latino people on this issue,” Roberto DePosada, who heads Latinos for Reform,** ** said in the video. “The Republican Party’s rhetoric on this issue has been irresponsible, but so has the Democratic Party’s inaction on this issue in the past two years. … Don’t just give your vote away because it’s expected.”

Here’s the video:

On the one hand, this could be a convincing point: Democrats assumed support from Latino voters but failed to deliver on their promises, and polls show some fallout. But few expect Congress would take on immigration reform during a lame duck session. Even Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill just before the pre-election recess, seemed unconvinced it would go anywhere.

But immigration advocates argue the failure of reform during Obama’s two years is not a reason to stay home from the polls, and they remain highly critical of DePosada’s effort to run the ads in Nevada. “This is overt voter suppression, and it’s ugly,” Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said in a press release earlier this week. “It’s precisely because of Sharron Angle’s nasty attack ads on immigration and this latest voter suppression tactic that Latino voters in Nevada should vote. They comprise 12% of the Nevada electorate, and a large turnout could prove to be fatal for Angle.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a longtime supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, seemed to make a similar “lesser of two evils”-style point in an op-ed he released today at Latinovations (emphasis mine):

On immigration, the question is not whether you are a Pelosi-Obama Democrat, but whether you are a Lamar Smith-John Boehner-Steve King Republican. When it comes down to it, putting people like Smith-Boehner-King at the helm of national immigration policy is a guarantee of more gridlock and chaos. Rep. Steve King of Iowa — who makes Jim Sensenbrenner look like Dolores Huerta by comparison — has called for electrified fencing on the border because he has found it effective for controlling “livestock.” And if the recent past is any indication, we can expect any number of anti-Latino voter intimidation dirty tricks in the coming weeks in addition to the ads telling Latinos not to vote. We need to make it crystal clear to voters who favor a fair and humane immigration system that a vote for any GOP House or Senate candidate is a vote for the status quo on immigration or worse.

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