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Mark Kirk's New Campaign Ad

By Kevin Robinson in News on Sep 16, 2010 3:40PM

Republican Senate Candidate Mark Kirk is launching a new ad today, targeted at Spanish-speaking voters with roots outside of the United States. The ad, in which Kirk shows off his Spanish-speaking chops, touts the congressman's efforts to bring together families that are split between the U.S. and Mexico. "I coordinated the Project 'Abuelita' that reunited grandparents with their grandchildren in Illinois," Kirk says in the ad. "Working as your Senator, I will help Latino families who want to start their own businesses and combat gangs. These are difficult times. Latino families in Illinois deserve a senator who works for them." Kirk is referring to a program that helped secure tourist visas for Mexican grandparents that have family in Waukegan, which is in Kirk's congressional district.

The Giannoulias campaign is charging that Kirk has released the ad to give himself cover as Senate Democrats bring the DREAM Act to a vote in congress. That bill provides undocumented students who came to the U.S. as minors, graduate from US high schools, and who have been in the country for at least five years continuously, an opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency. Per the bill, students receive temporary residency for six years, during which time they must earn "a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree in the United States," or have "served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge."

Kirk's ad, while an indication of how moderate he believes voters in Illinois might be on immigration reform, belies the emotional aspect of the issue. In an indication of how explosive the reaction to such an ad might be, comments are disabled on Kirk's YouTube page featuring the ad.