Though NJ101.5’s Craig Carton (above) and Ray Rossi have previously achieved CSTB immortality for the brutal mockery of former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey (“what Gov. Codey ought to do is approve the use of medical marijuana so women can have a joint and relax instead of putting their babies in the microwave. Then all they want to do is cook Doritos. Women who claim they suffer from this postpartum depression… they must be crazy in the first place,”), the so-called “Jersey Guys” have even more sensational fish to fry, writes the New York Times’ Andrew Jacobs.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Carton and Mr. Rossi started œOperation Rat a Rat/La Cucha Gotcha, a listener-participation game that encourages people to turn in friends, neighbors and œanyone suspicious to immigration authorities.

They introduced the segment with mariachi music and set the campaign to end on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), a well-known Mexican holiday.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the phrase œLa Cucha Gotcha is meant to evoke the Spanish word for cockroach.

Here in New Jersey, where 15 percent of the population is Hispanic, reaction to the show has not exactly been positive.

At a news conference Thursday, Hispanic elected officials and others condemned the campaign as œdehumanizing, œpoisonous and œidiotic, threatening boycotts of the show™s advertisers unless the Jersey Guys apologize.

œScapegoating and stereotyping Latinos does nothing but give bigoted individuals a platform to make ethnic slurs and racist comments, said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo of Newark, calling the campaign a œpublicity stunt that could incite violence against Hispanics.

But anyone expecting an apology was sorely disappointed when Mr. Carton and Mr. Rossi held an on-air news conference a few hours after Mr. Caraballo™s comments. Seeking to profit from the recently ignited firestorm, the Jersey Guys gathered a corps of journalists, most of them Hispanic, in their Trenton studios and gleefully refused to back down. They insisted that the campaign was not anti-Hispanic and that the phrase œLa Cucha Gotcha was inoffensive, likening the song œLa Cucaracha to a lullaby or a patriotic standard like œYankee Doodle Dandy.

After calling Assemblyman Caraballo a œpathetic liar, Mr. Carton repeated his call to deport every illegal immigrant in the country. œIf you™re here illegally, you are breaking the law ” no better, no worse than the guy who robs the liquor store or the guy who waits to case your house out and robs you of your belongings, he said. œYou are a criminal.

He went on to blame illegal immigrants for the state™s high property taxes, problems with uninsured drivers and violent crime. He also hinted that illegal immigrants were more likely to become terrorists. œOur country is at war right now, and it™s very important that we protect our kids, and one of the ways you can protect them is to not let undocumented immigrants into this country, he said.