Cartoon depicting armed criminals as 'Dreamers' spurs outrage among Latinos

Image: Demonstrators protest the government shutdown and the lack of a deal on DACA
Demonstrators protest the government shutdown and the lack of a deal on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) outside of Federal Plaza on Jan. 22, 2018 in New York.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

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By Nicole Acevedo

A national Latino group is calling on the leading New Mexico newspaper to examine its editorial practices after it published a controversial cartoon that portrayed armed criminals as Dreamers at a time when President Donald Trump has equated immigration issues with MS-13 gangs multiple times.

Sean Delonas’ cartoon shows a white couple being mugged by three men in an alley. One is holding the couple at gunpoint and taking the woman’s purse. Another is wearing a jacket that reads “MS-13,” while the third has a ski mask and a suicide vest of smoking explosives. "Now, honey...I believe they prefer to be called Dreamers or future Democrats," says the wife to the husband in the cartoon's caption.

“Satire and irony on the editorial pages promote discourse of issues that are being debated in the public domain, but statements that paint a single racial or ethnic group with the same brush cross the line into racism and bigotry,” said the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund in a statement.

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NALEO’s response comes after the editor of the Albuquerque Journal Karen Moses, issued an apology on Thursday over an editorial cartoon that many people interpreted as a bigoted attack on Hispanics.

“The Albuquerque Journal does not condone racism or bigotry in any form,” Moses wrote on her apology letter. “I also want to reiterate that we do not agree with many of the opinions expressed on the editorial pages, which are intended to encourage debate.”

The apology from the Albuquerque Journal came after a many prominent New Mexico public officials called out the newspaper for their “racist political cartoon about DREAMers” on a statement shared on Twitter.

“While we appreciate the editor’s acknowledgement of the error in printing the cartoon, we believe that this action merits more discussion with the editors of the Albuquerque Journal who initially saw fit to print such a cartoon grossly offensive to Hispanics, when it is the leading periodical serving a region and state that is nearly half Hispanic,” NALEO said.

The controversy over the cartoon comes at a time when a heated debate over immigration reform is taking place in Congress. Many DREAMers who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals law, known as DACA, face a March 5th deadline after Trump rescinded the Obama-era program.