Thursday, November 01, 2007

Homophobia Doesn't Work? Try Xenophobia

Having apparently learned from Brad Marrs’ defeat in 2005 that gay bashing won’t get him elected in the 68th House District, Manoli Loupassi (R Richmond) has, instead, sought to make immigrants the pawns in his 2007 bid for election to the Virginia House of Delegates.

In a recent campaign commercial focused on “illegal immigration,” Loupassi seeks to mislead voters into believing that some vote of Katherine Waddell’s means that illegal immigrants are being admitted to Virginia colleges as in-state students, occupying slots that would otherwise have gone to Virginia residents.

Such is not the case; and Loupassi knows it is not the case.

A veteran trial lawyer who, by all accounts, hopes one day to become Virginia’s Attorney General, Loupassi certainly knows the basics of Virginia law:

Virginia law requires one to be “domiciled” in Virginia to get in-state tuition;

Virginia’s Attorney General has made clear that persons in the United States without authority cannot establish domicile in Virginia and cannot qualify for in-state tuition; and

Virginia colleges have successfully defended in court their right to deny admission to undocumented students, regardless of in-state or out of state status for tuition purposes.

Neither Loupassi, nor any other Republican candidate using this page from this year’s Republican campaign playbook, can point to one undocumented student who has been admitted to any Virginia public college as an in-state student in violation of this settled Virginia law.

Delegate Waddell did not vote to change current law; she did vote against a “message” or “brochure” bill that was completely unnecessary to assure that undocumented students could not qualify for in-state tuition.

The bill did nothing more than provide a “hook” on which to hang Loupassi’s fear mongering campaign commercial – a commercial that is irresponsibly adding rhetorical fuel to an increasingly hostile environment for all persons of color and language minorities in Virginia.

Candidates who purport to be leaders should not have to resort to misleading the public to get elected. Nor should they be allowed to escape responsibility for the predictable effects and consequences of their actions and rhetoric.

Loupassi should be ashamed that he has stooped so low in his reach for higher office, and voters in the 68th House District should, again, reject the candidacy of one who seeks to exploit our fears rather than elicit our best.

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