Even Opponents Call Iowa Anti-immigration Ad Factually Accurate
January 12, 2004
"Borderline racist" ad is based on a decade-old study. "An evil soul producing holy witness?"
An ad running heavily in
The ad is paid for by a by the Coalition for the Future American Worker, a consortium of groups seeking curbs on immigration. It shows an inflatable dummy being punched repeatedly while a narrator says "greedy corporations and politicians" beat up on
The ad claims that wages fell by nearly half after meatpackers brought in foreign workers, and that’s factually accurate even according to critics of the ad. It is based on a study of a meatpacking plant in
One of the book’s editors, Prof. Donald Stull, an anthropologist at the
“I . . . have studied the meat and poultry industry throughout the
The study was conducted by Prof. Mark Grey of the
Prof. Grey is now director of his university’s “New Iowans Program” which works to welcome immigrants. He describes himself as “one of
Labor unions had complained about the ad. Mark Smith, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, said "It's just racist stuff with no factual basis." Iowa's New York Times-owned TV station WHO-TV stopped running it after station general manager Jim Boyer called it "unnecessarily inflaming and borderline racist."
Actually the ad makes no reference to race, though many of Iowa's recent immigrants are from Mexico or Asia. Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Coalition for the Future American Worker, disagreed with those who object to his group's ad. "All it is (is) somebody punching a pop-up dummy," the Des Moines Register quoted him as saying. "If they find that objectionable, I would challenge them to tell us how to raise the issue of immigration."
Prof. Grey said that by accurately using his own research, the ad "reminds me of a passage in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene III:
Donald Stull, Michael Broadway, and David Griffith (eds.), Any Way You Cut It: Meatpacking and Small-Town
Mark A. Grey “ Welcoming New Iowans ” University of Northern Iowa.
Brianna Blake and Jonathan Roos, "Labor leaders blast ad by anti-immigration group," Des Moines Register 1 Jan. 2004.
"Labor leaders urge immigration ads pulled," The Associated Press State & Local Wire 1 Jan. 2004.
"TV station pulls political ad opposed by labor leaders," The Associated Press State & Local Wire 2 Jan. 2004.
Brianna Blake, "KCCI keeps ad against immigration," Des Moines Register 7 Jan. 2004.
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