'Jersey Guys' Anti-Illegal Immigrant Campaign Draws Fire
March 22, 2007 at 3:47 PM (PT)
Liberal political group PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY is getting its two cents in on the controversy stirred up by MILLENIUM Talk WKXW & WXKW (NEW JERSEY 101.5)/TRENTON afternoon team THE JERSEY GUYS (CRAIG CARTON and RAY ROSSI), denouncing the show at a NEWARK press conference for its "La Cuca Gotcha" campaign to encourage listeners to turn in illegal immigrants. The show has spoken out against illegal immigration in the past and in FEBRUARY instituted the campaign with special phone lines for callers to report illegal activity.
A NEW JERSEY Assemblyman, WILFREDO CARABALLO (D-NEWARK), who called the campaign "a despicable campaign and clearly slanted at Hispanics" and "a vigilante movement" in a BERGEN RECORD story, held a press conference THURSDAY at his NEWARK office, at which PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY was represented by Northeast Regional Exec. Dir. ANDREW STENGEL. STENGEL read a statement asserting that his organization supports free speech but that "we too have the right to speak up. And when their message is so intolerant, so poisonous to our communities, we have an obligation to do so.
"The DJs may see this as a humorous game," added STENGEL, "but comparing hard-working people to cockroaches and rats is not amusing; it’s wrong and dangerous. They say they’re targeting only the undocumented, but by playing off a Spanish word, they have effectively equated 'undocumented' to 'Hispanic,' a group that currently comprises more than 15% of NEW JERSEY’s population."
CARABALLO told the RECORD that he is calling for a boycott of the station to force it to silence the campaign and apologize.
For his part, CARTON told the RECORD, "Any suggestion that this is motivated by racism is a crock and offensive. We have never condoned any type of violence or other immoral act against illegal immigrants. We have nothing against Hispanics at all and have never suggested that the only illegal immigrants in NEW JERSEY are Hispanic." And other Hispanic leaders contacted by the paper either indicated that the campaign should simply be ignored or, in the case of a Hispanic group that opposes illegal immigration, voiced support for the campaign.