WASHINGTON -- Latino group Presente Action is going after Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina in new Spanish-language radio ads on Thursday that accuse her of helping to block relief for undocumented immigrants.
Presente Action has been critical of vulnerable Senate Democrats for urging President Barack Obama to delay executive action on immigration that potentially could shield millions from deportation. Although Obama initially promised to take action by the end of the summer, he pushed back his plans until after the election, reportedly at the urging of red state Democrats who feared it would hurt their chances.
Hagan is one of those vulnerable Democrats, along with Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. All four of them voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, but angered activists when they opposed executive action on deportations and joined Republicans last month to push for a vote to block Obama from making major immigration policy changes.
Some pro-immigration reform groups, including Presente Action, are now urging Latinos to reconsider supporting Hagan and other Democrats who were not supportive of immediate executive action.
"Latinos are sick of being treated as a political football by Democrats like Senator Kay Hagan and Republicans alike," Presente Action executive director Arturo Carmona said in a statement. "Our families matter, our lives matter, and this ad is meant to remind Senator Hagan of that. Much like Republicans have, Senator Hagan has worked to tear our families apart, and now we urge Latinos across the state to think twice before casting a ballot in her name."
The ads will air for one week in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The ads say, in Spanish, that more than 1,000 Latino immigrants are deported each day and accuse Democrats of following in the footsteps of Republicans to become anti-immigrant.
"When there was a solution within reach, Senator Kay Hagan stood opposed," a voice says in the ad, as translated by Presente Action. "Senator Hagan voted with the most anti-immigrant senators in Congress in support of the continued deportations of our community."
The Hagan campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Presente Action ads.
A Democrat who monitors ad buys said the total figure for Charlotte was $780. The total radio ad buy figure in North Carolina was just under $2,000, according to Presente.
"The ad buy is in the low four figures, but was sufficient to reach our intended audience of Spanish speakers in two major metropolitan areas in North Carolina," Mariana Ruiz, managing director at Presente.org, said in an email. "We might not have the money of the big political parties, but the lives of our friends and family members are on the line and we are passionate about Sen. Kay Hagan understanding that key fact."
This story has been updated with additional information about the ad buy.