Tan Nguyen Letter Reveals Moral Bankruptcy
George W. Bush, P. Diddy and Paris Hilton may not be able to agree on gun control, the Iraq War or the pros and cons of small pink Chihuahuas, but they can agree on one thing: voting. Whether their motto is ‘Get Out the Vote,’ ‘Vote or Die’ or ‘Voting, That’s Hot,’ their message is simple: If you are an American citizen, then you should be an American voter. And as painful as it is to side with P. Diddy or Paris Hilton, I am a part of the majority of Americans who agree.
Republican candidate for the House of Representatives Tan Nguyen must have missed the memo.
Less than three weeks before the Nov. 7 election, one of the members of Nguyen’s staff contacted an estimated 14,000 central Orange County Latino Democrats. The message, translated from Spanish: ‘You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.’
Incidentally, a naturalized adult immigrant has the same legal voting rights as any American citizen. Not coincidentally, Nguyen’s opponent, Loretta Sanchez, is a Latino Democrat with a large Latino Democratic constituency, while Nguyen is a Republican anti-immigration activist with little Latino Democratic support.
When blamed for suppressing the Latino vote to benefit a struggling political campaign, what’s a candidate to do? Pass the buck! In an Oct. 19 interview, Nguyen said, ‘I did not do this. I did not approve of any letter,’ adding that he fired the staffer who must have used his voter database to mail the letter without his knowledge. However, in an Oct. 22 press statement, Nguyen pulled a political one-eighty, saying, ‘Lastly, I would like to issue an apology to my office manager who [sic] I had discharged earlier this week … and I would like to invite her back to work on the campaign. … Her forwarding of the database without my permission was an error made, but with good intentions.’