An inflammatory mailer sent to Anchorage, Alaska residents over the weekend by an anti-immigrant, Tea-party backed Republican primary Senate candidate features shirtless, tattooed men making gang signs with their hands, and a message that condemns the Democrat primary opponent for wanting “20 million illegals” to vote. Candidate Joe Miller’s mailer comes at a time when he’s a distant third in Republican primary polls and his state’s three Republican Senate candidates are emphasizing immigration to win their party’s nomination ahead of next week’s GOP primary election.
Tying the issue of immigration reform and gun rights, the mailer quotes Miller as saying, “And if 20 million illegals vote, you can kiss the 2nd amendment goodbye. I am the only candidate who favors the Voter ID.” The back of the mailer features photos of “Miller firing a handgun and teaching shooting to a boy and girl identified as his children,” the Alaska Dispatch News stated.
During a heated televised debate over the weekend, Miller defended his mailer, stating, “There’s a clear correlation, and the clear correlation is this: If you end up granting amnesty to those who don’t value gun rights, who have not been raised in an environment where the Second Amendment is cherished — is considered to be a God-given right — the reality is over a generation or two, the likelihood is very strong that the Second Amendment will not be here.” The Alaska Dispatch News reported that Miller stated, “We have violent thugs coming across our border and doing violent things.”
What’s more, at least one of the pictures depicted in the mailer isn’t even of gang members within the United States. The top photo featuring five men making hand gestures can be found on a book cover about life in a Mexican drug cartel from 2007.
Miller won the 2010 Republican Senate nomination, but lost to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in a general election write-in campaign. Despite refusing to indicate whether he would back Murkowski should he lose in the GOP primary, he recently stated that he has no plans to run as a third-party candidate. Murkowski and the Democrat incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) both voted for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform last year, but the bill prohibits gang members from qualifying for any kind of earned pathway to citizenship.
Miller has challenged two Republican candidates, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan and Lt. Gov Mead Treadwell, to sign a “no-amnesty” pledge, which asks candidates to promise to oppose legislation that would grant any form of work authorization to undocumented immigrants and to oppose legislation that increases the overall number of immigrants and guest workers. Both refused. At least 67 percent of candidates who signed the pledge, created by the immigration-restrictionist group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), have lost their primaries.
Miller has espoused other anti-immigrant sentiments, including touting his endorsement by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is known for his harsh treatment of immigrant prison detainees. Miller is currently running an ad that states his support for eliminating “foreign aid to countries that encourage illegal immigration.”