ABQ Journal takes a beating in Senate over controversial cartoon

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The Senate chambers at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Heath Haussamen / NMPolitics.net

The Senate chambers at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Democratic state senators spent about half an hour of Thursday’s floor session denouncing the Albuquerque Journal for publishing an editorial cartoon that they called racist and untrue.

The cartoon in Wednesday’s edition depicted people covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy offering temporary deportation protection to unauthorized youth immigrants, as violent gang members. It also described them as future Democrats.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and all three of New Mexico’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives were among those Wednesday who said the Journal shouldn’t have published the cartoon by Sean Delonas.

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Journal Editor Karen Moses apologized for the cartoon’s role in inflaming emotions. She says the newspaper does not condone racism or bigotry in any form.

Sen. Cisco McSorley of Albuquerque said the Journal’s editors should be fired for publishing the cartoon and diminishing the First Amendment by showing no regard for truth.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, a candidate for governor, said he called the Journal’s editor to complain about the cartoon.

And Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque criticized the Journal’s publication of the cartoon as an example of “ignorance and intolerance that stifle any healthy society.”

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez was the only Republican to comment on the Senate floor about the editorial cartoon. He said he believes in a “strong, robust immigration policy” but called on the Journal to retract the editorial cartoon because it does not portray so-called Dreamers truthfully.

Sanchez also said that, although Republicans and Democrats disagree each day in the Legislature, those debates focus on policy. Sanchez said he was offended that the Journal would try to depict Democrats as thugs.

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