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Naazish YarKhan Headshot

!No More Immigrant Bashing in Dupage! !Deja de Golpear al Inmigrante en Dupage!

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6th District Congressman Peter Roskam has embarked upon another "Blame Pedro" Campaign designed for short-term political gain heading into November's elections, says Cristobal Cavazos of Immigrant Solidarity DuPage as they plan for their Oct. 23rd Rally at Peter Roskam's office.

"On September 19, Peter Roskam, a freshman in Congress seeking a second term, became the first congressman to make use of anti-immigrant ads in Illinois this election cycle with a direct-mail piece sent out to supporters," says Cavazos, as they planned for their Oct. 23rd rally at Peter Roskam's office. "We are a bi-partisan group and denounce Roskam because of his willful demonizing of the growing immigrant community in DuPage," he added.

Speakers at the rally will include members of Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, local religious leaders, student leader Erika Sanchez and allies Jorge Mujica from the March 10th Committee and Tim Bell from the Chicago Workers Collaborative.

The ads, paid for by the Illinois Republican Party, immigrants argue "

use the inflammatory word "illegals" in reference to the nation's undocumented immigrant population. The Roskam campaign also incorporates anti-Latino stereotypes by featuring images of "border-hopping" Hispanic types while questioning whether "we" have "enough border-security."

What happens when such words are bandied about is people have gut reactions and are thrown into an us vs. them mentality without taking the time to research the facts and see for themselves whether they agree or disagree with the policies being negotiated.

As a Muslim, I've seen this "gut -reaction" to the words Muslim and Islam happen over and over. It triggers a reaction which is based more on emotion, than on actual investigation of what the faith stands for. And when it comes to the immigration debate, what fuels our emotions ? It's not always
the details of a policy and is more likley sound-bites and political ads. And very often, where do we turn to for our news, or for other opinions for that matter ? We look to sources that validate our perspective. It's a vicious cycle.

"We deserve better than this," suggests Roskam. Yes and so do people who spend their lives contributing to the American economy. Day after day after day.

"The congressman sent out these ads a day after Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) an anti-immigrant, enforcement only, extremist group announced their endorsement of Roskam giving him an "A" rating," says Cavazos. Roskam made use of similar ads two years ago in his campaign against Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth and is adding to the surge of hate and violence that has surrounded the immigration debate.

"It is the desire of us in Immigrant Solidarity DuPage to publicly denounce Roskam's use of rhetoric and imagery that demonizes immigrants and Latinos, while expressing our solidarity with the nation's underclass of undocumented workers," said Cavazos.

However, the Democratic contender for the same office, Jill Morgenthaler, also has issues to contend with. According to Politico,

...[Morgenthaler] normally backs Democratic candidates, but according to state election records, she voted in Republican primaries in 2002 and 2005, and only began voting in the Democratic primary last year.

Politico also reports the following on Morgenthaler's connection to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal:

A previously unknown group, calling itself "Patriotic Democrats of DuPage," distributed fliers to Democratic activists in the district last week highlighting Morgenthaler's role as Army spokeswoman during the episode, when U.S. forces were accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners.

The fliers focused on a June 2004 entry in her online journal from Iraq that seemed to justify soldiers' actions. "As people get upset about Abu Ghraib, one thing that should never be forgotten: These are men who have murdered Americans and would continue to murder Americans if given the opportunity."

The fliers, which were delivered before she announced her candidacy, also highlight statements Morgenthaler made in 2004 that were critical of the news media for ignoring the positive aspects of the Iraq situation.