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Insider Louisville: Kentucky Immigration Reform Supporters Blast Grimes for Anti-Immigrant Ad

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1:30 PM ET: Breaking news!

It’s been a bad week for Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes after the release of her “illegal aliens” ad, and she has rightfully come under fire from a number of progressive and get-out the vote groups, as well as from the pro-immigrant crowd.  Today, Louisville Insider has a piece about local immigration reform supporters in Kentucky who are also hopping mad, and how Grimes may have just alienated a number of constituents already supporting her.  Read more here or below:

Luis Martinez is a Lexington activist who runs the Latin Lex website and Facebook page for Spanish-language residents in the city. He was brought to America when he was 15 and has lived in Lexington for 12 years, currently protected by President Obama’s deferred action in 2012 that gave legal status to certain young people brought to the country through no fault of their own. Martinez contacted the Grimes campaign about the ad and tried to facilitate a discussion with local Hispanic groups, but has not heard back from them.

“Right now the people who can vote that are Hispanic, I think they are in a bind,” Martinez tells Insider Louisville. “Because McConnell is just all against everything. Anything that comes out of Obama’s mouth, he is against it. On Grimes, she’s trying so hard to sway the conservative votes that it’s affecting others as well … The way it’s looking right now, she’s probably the lesser of two evils, but it didn’t have to be that way.”


Local activist T. Gonzales also wrote the Grimes campaign the following email, accusing her ad of “racism” and saying she was canceling her plans to volunteer for her campaign this weekend.

I am a Mexican-American, a Democrat, a committed voter, and an engaged community member; I take personal offense to your campaign’s use of the words “illegal” and “amnesty” in some desperate attempt to garner votes from Kentuckians.

In the past week I have been asking these questions of my friends and neighbors, and I ask them of this campaign: Why does Mrs. Grimes and her campaign think so little of my neighbors and me? Why does Mrs. Grimes and her campaign think the best way to talk to the Kentucky electorate about any issue is to play to racism and fear? Why does Mrs. Grimes and her campaign think Kentuckians can’t understand complex issues of migration and immigration in the United States? Why does Mrs. Grimes assume Kentuckians are OK with dehumanizing their fellow Kentuckians by calling them “illegal”? Why does she assume Kentuckians are in favor of denying needed support to people living in this state and country?…

I was scheduled to volunteer for your campaign this Saturday morning here in Louisville, but I will no longer offer my time to your campaign. I will, however, offer up my time to efforts that further justice and fairness.

The local response comes in addition to the criticism Grimes has been receiving from national progressive groups and other immigration reform supporters.  MoveOn, Democracy for America, and others have called for Grimes to take down the ad.  Here was MoveOn’s response:

This latest TV ad from Alison Lundergan Grimes is deeply upsetting. Grimes seems to be forgetting that we are a nation of immigrants that has continually strived to honor all the hard-working people who aspire to the American Dream. MoveOn members in Kentucky and across the country are contacting millions of voters to help prevent a Republican takeover of the Senate, and it makes that important work harder when Democrats embrace inflammatory Republican rhetoric. It’s deeply troubling that Grimes would stop this low in order to try and defeat McConnell, and she needs to take this offensive advertisement off the air immediately. It’s long past time to reform our broken immigration system, and we need elected officials who will work toward a pathway to citizenship for millions for aspiring Americans.

And Democracy for America:

The Grimes campaign must take down this offensive ad. It’s simply wrong for any Democrat to use right-wing talking points and dehumanize struggling immigrant families.  Democracy for America members have been proud to work with allies to end Mitch McConnell’s 30-year career in Washington and save the Senate from Republican control, but every moment Secretary Grimes fails to remove this hurtful ad ignores the plight of millions and makes our work more difficult.

Latino Victory Project:

Immigration reform is a critical issue that will require leadership and political courage to do the right thing.  To see a candidate from either party use this kind of language in advertising is unacceptable in 2014, and we condemn this attempt by Alison Lundergan Grimes to play ugly politics with an issue so important to our community and the nation.

Jose Antonio Vargas:

Linking Sen. Mitch McConnell to ‘amnesty’ for ‘illegal aliens’ is not only a bad campaign strategy — it’s morally corrupt. Please remove this immigration ad, now.

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1:

How is she any different from the opposition when she does this?

Did she have conversations with immigrants in Kentucky about amnesty? If not, she needs to make it her priority to have those conversations this week because, while pandering to one voting base, she is turning away a base of supporters.”