Posted on August 10, 2004

Frost, Sessions Urge Immigration Reform Group To Pull TV Ads

Lisa Falkenberg, Miami Herald, Aug. 9

DALLAS — Two political enemies in one of the most competitive congressional races in the country are now on the same side, of at least one issue.

Democrat Martin Frost and Republican Pete Sessions, both Dallas incumbents vying for the same North Texas seat, wrote separate letters on Friday to Coalition for the Future American Worker urging the anti-immigration group to pull its ads from Dallas-area television stations.

Frost also wrote letters to television stations urging them not to run ads that he says are inaccurate and racially inflammatory.

“North Texans, your viewers and the voters in the 32nd Congressional District, deserve better than to have 3rd party shadow groups with a long history of spewing inaccurate and hateful messages cluttering the airwaves,” Frost wrote to the stations. “I again urge you to make the responsible decision and immediately reject these ads.”

Sessions called on the coalition to “cease and desist all public activities that pertain to the election.”

“The voters of the 32nd Congressional District deserve to hear from the candidates and the candidates alone,” Sessions said in a news release.

The candidates pledged earlier this spring to disavow third-party ads in the race after the coalition ran an ad in the Dallas market in April criticizing Frost’s stance on immigration.

The ad — which showed a Hispanic man fleeing in one scene and accused immigrants of abusing the U.S. health care system and clogging schools — drew criticism from The Dallas Morning News editorial board, which called it “racially tinged.”

Local station KXAS-TV dropped the ad.

As the coalition plans to run more ads in the area, Frost and Sessions have asked it to kindly butt out.

Frost’s campaign claims the coalition has purchased nearly $200,000 of TV advertising that will air in the Dallas area Aug. 16-27.

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the coalition, wouldn’t give specifics, but said the group is planning another round of ads that will educate voters about Frost’s record.

The group has claimed in its ads that Frost has sponsored legislation that would “give amnesty to up to 1.2 million illegal aliens in Texas” and “will import 250,000 more foreign workers every year to take jobs and drive down wages.”

Frost said he has never supported amnesty and is not sponsoring any guest worker bills.

“These sort of ads are meant to let people know what’s going on. We believe it’s important for people back home to understand what their representatives in Congress are promoting and make a decision,” Mehlman said. “These are important public policy issues and they deserve to be discussed and not swept under the rug.”

Mehlman insisted the timing of the ads has nothing to do with the Frost-Sessions race. He said the coalition is a bipartisan group that has run ads attacking the immigration records of Republicans as well as Democrats.

Frost was forced to run in the Republican-leaning Dallas district held by Sessions after Republicans decimated his district in off-year political remapping.