Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In a political ad that pits black voters vs. immigrants, does the source of the message matter?

A political ad from an anti-illegal immigration group that's set to air on some stations during tonight's presidential debate touches a raw nerve for some people; it essentially pits black voters against immigrants. That's not an unfamiliar theme. Especially as the economy has declined, immigration has been a sensitive subject among some black voters, enough to make some observers wonder whether President Obama's recent support of temporary legal status for some young undocumented immigrants might cost him the backing of a core constituency.

But does this matter when those asking black voters to support restricting immigration aren't black? The television spot is from Numbers USA, a Virginia-based immigration restriction activist group whose top leadership is white. 

The civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center has tied the group and executive director Roy Beck to more radical immigration restriction organizations, although the group has denied any current ties.

The Numbers USA TV spot portrays a black family with the father complaining about his recent layoff, and urging "Let's slow down mass immigration and save jobs for Americans — all Americans."

It's not the first time that non-black anti-illegal immigration advocates promote a black vs. immigrant message; both Numbers USA and the Washington, D.C.-based immigration restriction think tank Center for Immigration Studies have statements about illegal immigration from prominent black voices posted on their websites. 

That resonates for some, but does the source affect its impact? Your turn - post your thoughts below.

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