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Immigration News

Louisiana Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Slams Ad as Racist

The Louisiana Hispanic Chamber of Commerce slams Sen. David Vitter’s campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate of running an anti-immigration TV ad against Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville that is being denounced as “racist” and “reprehensible.”

The ad, shows Hispanic “illegal aliens” sneaking through a hole in a fence and being welcomed by folks holding a Melancon banner, a giant check made out to “all illegal aliens” and signed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The immigrants also are greeted by a band playing “America the Beautiful,” fireworks and a limo that drives them away.

Darlene Kattan, executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, characterized the ad as “racist” in the way that it plays off a “Hollywood stereotype image of Latino workers.”

Image“It is totally unacceptable and we demand an immediate apology and the removal of the ad,” Kattan said. She added that the spot “uses the word ‘illegal’ too many times, and we stress that word. Well, remember the old saying about ‘people in glass houses,’” a reference to Vitter’s connection to a Washington, D.C. call-girl organization that was revealed in 2007.

“Sen. Vitter knows very well that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for public benefits like welfare, food stamps, Social Security or Medicaid. They never have been,” said Susan Weishar, a migration specialist at the Loyola University’s Jesuit Social Research Institute. “It is poisonous to the political discourse that Sen. Vitter continues to scapegoat people who came to Louisiana to help us rebuild our homes and businesses after Katrina.”