This week, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) released yet another race-baiting anti-immigrant attack ad on his opponent, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA). “Thanks to him, we may as well put out a welcome sign for illegal aliens,” says the narrator of the ad as footage of dirty, goofy looking Latino men slipping through a hole in a fence displaying a neon welcome sign runs across the screen. The men then exuberantly step into a limo with a giant check they defiantly hang out the window as they zoom away. The racial overtones of the ad are so offensive that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has called it blatantly “racist”and is demanding not only an apology but that the ad be pulled altogether. WDSU reports:
“We found the ad to be totally abhorrent and shocking, and I’m going to use the ‘R’ word and say racist,” said Darlene Kattan, of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana.
Kattan said her issue is not with the senator’s position on border security, but rather how he presents his message. “In this ad, he has these Hollywood stereotypes, caricature-types portraying Latino workers,” Kattan said. “First of all, he uses the word ‘illegal’ so many times.” [...]
“To Sen. David Vitter, we are saying you owe us an apology, we are offended, we expect an immediate apology and we expect this ad to be yanked from the airwaves immediately,” Kattan said.
Watch the ad:
Kattan also noted that “No one seems to be objecting to the cute little blond-haired, blue-eyed cocktail waitress with her darling little eastern Europe accents serving cocktails in downtown New Orleans, but everyone has a problem with the workers who have come here to rebuild this city.”
In fact, Latino immigrants — many of them undocumented — have helped Louisiana get itself back on its feet. While half of New Orleans’ residents abandoned their decimated city after Hurricane Katrina hit and rebuilt their lives elsewhere, Latino workers were directly responsible for making 86.9% of households habitable after Hurricane Katrina in six parishes surrounding New Orleans in 2008. Almost 50 percent of the hurricane-repair workers in the New Orleans were Latinos and 54 percent of them undocumented. A study found that that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Louisiana, the state would lose $947 million in expenditures, $421 million in economic output, and approximately 6,660 jobs.
Melancon’s campaign denied the allegations in the ad, citing local newspapers that have already called it “distorted,” “misleading,” and “untrue.”