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AD WATCH: Campaign '94. One in an occasional series.

November 08, 1994

GOVERNOR'S RACE

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Brown ran two final television commercials Monday dealing with her Republican opponent, Gov. Pete Wilson, and Proposition 187, the controversial ballot measure Wilson supports that would deny state-financed health, education and social benefits to foreign nationals living in California illegally. Brown opposes the ballot initiative.

* THE ADS:

One ad urges voters to take a second look "at the politician behind" Proposition 187. It says that as a U.S. senator, Wilson "took $600,000 (from) corporations that wanted illegal labor, then protected them from INS raids." The commercial goes on to allege that Wilson voted to make Californians finance health care for illegal immigrants and "wrote the law that let 1.3 million illegals across the border." ' A number of the statements are credited to an article in the San Jose Mercury News.

The second ad contends that "Pete Wilson has a scary plan" to force all Americans to carry "mandatory" ID cards. It says Wilson wants doctors, nurses and teachers to turn in students who do not have cards "and neighbors to report on neighbors." The commercial continues: "Brown says Wilson's ID cards are un-American."

* THE ANALYSIS:

Wilson has made Proposition 187 a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, but was not an originator of the initiative. The Mercury News article said Wilson election committees received $600,000 in campaign contributions from agribusinesses and other interests that may have benefited from low-cost foreign workers. Wilson sponsored legislation in 1986 that provided for the legal entry of foreign farm workers, but also required them to return to their home countries. The bill was amended in the U.S. House to allow them to achieve legal residence--a provision Wilson now says he opposed, but was forced to accept. The law allowed about 1.3 million immigrants to work in the United States, about half of them in California. They did not enter the country illegally. Since 1990, when Wilson said that his amendment assured California growers a continuing supply of legal workers to harvest crops, Wilson has become a sharp critic of the costs to the state of illegal immigrants. Wilson says his position has evolved as more and more illegal immigrants have come into California and the cost of providing services to them has increased, in part because of the recession.

As for the second ad, the idea of some sort of a national identification card has been proposed for a variety of uses over the years and generally was opposed by civil libertarians as smacking too much of a police state. Wilson has said, however, that some sort of identification system would be required if Proposition 187 passed because only legal residents of the United States would be eligible for non-emergency health care, public schooling and other social services. Wilson once answered that everyone would have to carry an ID card, but later said he had not heard the word "carry" in the question. He then said everyone would have to have a card, but would only need to possess it on occasions such as applying for a job or being admitted to a school. Brown has said that everyone must have a "tamper-proof" Social Security card to present as evidence of citizenship or legal residence when applying for a job. Wilson has insisted that he does not "want" doctors, teachers and others to turn in suspected illegal residents. However, the language of the initiative would require those officials to report an illegal immigrant or suspected illegal immigrant to authorities. The initiative itself does not establish an identification card or other means of identity, but says verification of legal status "may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status." The proposed law requires certain officials to report suspected illegal immigrants to authorities in the course of their jobs, but says nothing about requiring "neighbors to report neighbors."

SENATE RACE

Republican Senate candidate Mike Huffington released a new television commercial late Monday.

* THE AD:

The commercial features Huffington speaking to a camera. He says, "It's time for a new beginning. A new generation of leaders, a new vision for our country. Do we dare break trust with our children and leave them a country that has lost direction? I'm running for Senate to change the system, to make it work for you--not the special interests. And to restore the values of faith, family, hard work and responsibility that have made this country great. I'm Mike Huffington and I need your vote."

* THE ANALYSIS:

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