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Nevada Senator Dean Heller Offers Different Immigration Messages in English and Spanish

by Mahwish Khan on 05/31/2012 at 3:30pm

From Political Wire, we learn the news that a Nevada Republican Senator, who is running for election this year, is sending different messages via his English and Spanish-language websites:

Sen. Dean Heller’s (R-NV) campaign has set up a Spanish-language website which “is not as robust as the English-language version but does have a summary statement about the candidate,” the Las Vegas Sun reports.

“On both sites, information can be found on Heller’s stance on immigration, including similar sections that address the convoluted immigration system…. Yet, only the English-language site addresses Heller’s stance on border security and illegal immigration.”

It doesn’t take Google Translate to realize that Heller is trying to have it both ways. In English, he’s virulently anti-immigrant, to appeal to the hard-core GOP base. But with his Spanish-language website, he’s trying a softer approach. Like that’s going to work.

A couple other things that are missing from both websites: Dean Heller opposes the DREAM Act and wants to change the 14th Amendment. Here’s what we wrote in January:

In a key development for one of the 2012 cycle’s most prominent Senate battleground races, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) used the occasion of a meeting with Hispanic community leaders last Friday to reiterate his opposition to the DREAM Act and birthright citizenship.

As the Associated Press recapped:

Heller’s appearance at a monthly Hispanics in Politics meeting was intended to be an olive branch toward the Hispanic community after he cancelled a meeting with the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce in October, prompting accusations from some Hispanic leaders that Heller was shunning the Latino community.  But the meeting quickly evolved into a debate on immigration, with Heller repeating his opposition to illegal immigration several times, even as Hispanic leaders warned him that the stance could alienate some Latino voters. Heller also reiterated his support for an overhaul of the 14th Amendment…

That’s some olive branch.  By following the Sharron Angle playbook on immigration and reiterating his opposition to the DREAM Act, Dean Heller just narrowed his path to victory significantly this November by disqualifying himself among many of Nevada’s Latino voters.

Latino voters play a decisive role in Nevada. In fact,  last year, Senate Majority Leader Reid attributed his 2010 reelection victory to that support, saying, “I would not be the majority leader in the United States Senate today, but for the Hispanics in Nevada.”

Latino Decisions election eve polling from 2010 found that Reid’s margin over Sharron Angle was 90% – 8% among Latino voters.  Angle ran a notoriously aggressive anti-immigrant campaign, punctuated by some of the most blatantly anti-Latino ads seen in recent political history, while Reid was a clear and strong voice in favor of the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.  According to exit polls, Latino turnout was up from 12% of the electorate in the 2006 mid-terms to 15% in 2010.

Given these numbers, Heller is apparently trying to be a bit sneakier about his anti-immigrant views. Unfortunately for him, Latino voters speak English too.

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