"No way, José": Alabama governor sparks cries of racism with new campaign ad attacking Joe Biden

“If [Biden] keeps shipping illegal immigrants into our states, we’re all going to have to learn Spanish"

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published April 15, 2022 2:55PM (EDT)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday lamented the idea that Americans would be forced to learn Spanish if President Biden keeps "shipping illegal immigrants" in the country. 

"If Joe Biden keeps shipping illegal immigrants into our states, we're all going to have to learn Spanish," Ivey said in a new 30-second ad spot released this week. "My message to Biden: no way, José." 

"That's why I sent national guard troops to protect the Southern border. That's why we banned sanctuary cities in Alabama. The left can try to cancel me, I don't care. But here in Alabama, we're going to enforce the law," the conservative governor added. 

Ivey, first elected in 2017, is seeking re-election in 2022. According to Alabama Political Reporter, the election is hers to win. The ad comes just six weeks before the state's primary.

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Ivey Campaign Manager William Califf told a CBS affiliate that Ivey "recognizes that a country without borders isn't a country at all."

"Illegal immigration is at an all-time high thanks to the Biden Administration's weak border policies – resulting in record numbers of illegal immigrants and deadly drugs flooding across the border into our communities," Califf added. 

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The ad has drawn criticism.


"If Ivey gets any more racist than her latest ad," Alabama columnist Kyle Whitmire wrote this week, "she's going to need another can of shoe polish."

Carlos Aleman, CEO of the Hispanic Intrest Coalition of Alabama says that Ivey's ad alienates the very voters she is attempting to reach.

"I don't think these types of attacks are successful," Aleman told local NBC affiliate WVTM. "We should be creating a more inclusive that is more welcoming." 

Ivey first deployed National Guard troops to the southern border in 2018 at the request of Donald Trump. Last January, the Alabama governor renewed that commitment at the request of the chief of the National Guard Bureau, sending a 750-troop battalion to the border.

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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Alabama Brief Campaign Ad Elections 2022 Hispanic Voters Immigration Joe Biden Kay Ivey