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Report: The Immigration Dirty Dozen

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Twelve of the Most Outrageous Statements about Immigrants in the 2010 Election

The 2010 mid-term campaign season is shaping up to be the most vicious, vitriolic election cycle in recent memory.  The issue of immigration is a perfect example.  Distortions, lies, and stereotypes dominate the airwaves when it comes to immigrants and Latinos.  From threats of violence against immigrants to calls for mass deportation, candidates across the country are unleashing a torrent of hate speech that is both alarming and un-American.

Who’s the worst of the worst?  To be honest, it was hard to choose.  Here’s a dozen of the most outrageous candidate claims thus far, plus a couple honorable mentions.  Consider this the Immigration Politics 2010 Wall of Shame.    

1. SHARRON ANGLE, U.S. Senate candidate, NV (R)

Sharron Angle Immigration Ad

–television ad, September 2010

“I’m not sure that those are Latinos in that commercial. What it is, is a fence and there are people coming across that fence. What we know is that our northern border is where the terrorists came through. That’s the most porous border that we have.”

October 15, 2010, addressing Rancho High School’s Hispanic Student Union, after being asked why her ads portrayed Latinos as “illegal aliens” and criminals. (In late October, Angle released an ad with images of a Border Patrol checkpoint whose exterior clearly reads “El Paso, Texas.”)

“I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don’t know that.”

October 15, 2010, during the same conversation with members of Rancho High School’s Hispanic Student Union

Sharron Angle Immigration Ad

Sharron Angle Immigration Ad

–television ad, October 2010

2. JOHN YATES, state representative seeking re-election, GA Dist. 73 (R)

“They ought to be armed and if warned leaflets dropped all over Mexico says that we will shoot to kill if anybody crosses and be serious about this and if they do that then there won’t be anybody killed.”

October 14, 2010, during a debate, explaining what he feels the National Guard should do to protect the border

“Stopping Hitler was worth the price. It’s our border. They’re invading us.”

October 15, 2010, defending his “shoot to kill” statement 

3. LOUIE GOHMERT, U.S. Congressman seeking re-election, TX-1 (R)

“We’re bringing them over here on tourist visas, some illegally, letting them be born here and saying this is an American citizen. So come back in 20, 25 years when you’re ready to blow us up.”

July 1, 2010, during an interview with Fox Business

4. JAN BREWER, Governor seeking re-election, AZ (R)

“The majority of them in my opinion and I think in the opinion of law enforcement is that they are not coming here to work. They are coming here and they’re bringing drugs.

June 15, 2010, during a Republican primary debate, on undocumented immigrants

“Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded.”

June 27, 2010, during an appearance on a local television show. As the Arizona Guardian reported days later, “officials with six county medical examiners offices in the state, including four from counties that border Mexico, say they have never heard of such attacks.”

“The Mexican government, along with President Calderon and the bordering governors that interact with us, they do not want our borders secure. I mean, they have made it very, very clear…I believe that he believes that he is helping out the federal administration and they are looking at it in a political mode to bring in newly registered illegal immigrants to register to vote.”

October 20, 2010, in an interview with CNS News

5. JOE MILLER, U.S. Senate candidate, AK (R)

“If East Germany could do it, we could do it.”

October 17, 2010, at a town hall in Anchorage, on securing the border

6. KRIS KOBACH, Secretary of State candidate, KS (R)

“In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive… Our voter rolls must be purged of thousands of deceased individuals, illegally-registered aliens, and felons.”

            campaign website

“We don’t know the entire number, we just know people have been observed registering people outside the meatpacking plants.”

July 11, 2010, to the Wichita Eagle, explaining his claim about “pervasive” illegal voter registration of non-citizens

7. DAVID VITTER, U.S. Senator seeking re-election, LA (R)

David Vitter Immigration Ad

–television ad, October 2010

David Vitter Immigration Ad

–television ad, September 2010. The ad was removed from YouTube after a copyright claim from Getty Images, which owned this photograph; Getty protested that the unpaid use of the image for political purposes was illegal and misleading, since the original photograph was of three Mexican farmers in Mexico.

8. BRIAN SANDOVAL, gubernatorial candidate, NV (R)

“My children don’t look Hispanic.”

July 2010, during an interview with Univisión Nevada, when he was asked how he would feel if his children were stopped on the street and asked for their papers under a law like Arizona’s SB 1070 (which he supports). Univisión Nevada news director and El Tiempo columnist Adriana Arévalo wrote that Sandoval answered “with pride in his voice.”

9. REP. PETER PALUMBO, state representative seeking re-election, RI Dist. 16 (D)

“We’ve all heard of anchor babies. We have something unique to Rhode Island, and they’re called anchor embryos. And what it is is a policy that we have in the state of Rhode Island — if you’re an illegal alien woman and you’re pregnant and you come to Rhode Island, you go to the Department of Human Services — the first thing you have to do is tell them that you’re an illegal alien and you’re pregnant and the Department of Human Services will offer you, do you want Blue Cross, United, or Neighborhood Health.”

August 20, 2010, during an interview with Fox News

10. ALLEN WEST, congressional candidate, FL-22 (R)

“You must be well-informed and well-armed, because this government we have right now is a tyrannical government. And it starts with illegal immigration.”

May 2010, at a protest outside a day-labor center

11. RUTH MCCLUNG, congressional candidate, AZ-7 (R)

Boycott Grijalva

image from McClung campaign mailer (paid for by the Arizona Republican Party), October 2010, attacking Representative Raul Grijalva

12. MEG WHITMAN, gubernatorial candidate, CA (R)

“It breaks my heart, but she should be deported, because she forged documents and she lied about her immigration status.”

October 27, 2010, during an interview with Fox News, when asked about former housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan. In September, Whitman had called Diaz Santillan an “extended member of the family.”


HAROLD JOHNSON, congressional candidate, NC-8 (R)

“Amnesty, amnesty, amnesty for 15 to 20 million illegals. If that happens, as Republicans, these chairs will stay empty. There is no sense in having meetings. We’ll never win another election.”

October 19, 2010, speaking at a meeting of local Republicans


 Sixty-six candidates for federal office who signed the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) candidate pledge

“I will use the full power of my office, including impeachment if necessary, to insure the Executive Branch secures America’s border immediately and begins to adequately enforce the existing immigration and border laws of the United States.”

–ALIPAC candidate pledge signed by 66 candidates for federal office.  ALIPAC has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.