The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, will air at least $1 million in advertisements against House Republicans including Whip Kevin McCarthy for blocking a rewrite of U.S. immigration laws.
The ads will be broadcast in Spanish and target congressional districts with large Latino constituencies, the group said today in a statement. McCarthy’s district, which includes Bakersfield, California, is about 36 percent Hispanic.
“The time for acting on immigration reform is now, and the labor movement has decided to throw down in a big way to make it happen,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in the statement. “Every day, over 1,000 people are deported, while House Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform with a road map to citizenship and workers’ rights.”
The campaign will cost more than $1 million and is meant to “spur House Republicans into action” on immigration this year, and highlight members’ “hostile” statements against immigrants, Trumka told reporters during a conference call.
The TV ads are part of a media and grassroots campaign the union said it aimed at reaching constituents of Joe Heck of Nevada, Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton of Colorado, Buck McKeon and Gary Miller of California, Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Daniel Webster of Florida.
Among the group’s targets is Republican Representative David Valadao, who joined a California colleague, Jeff Denham, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida to back an immigration bill sponsored by Democrats. The labor federation contends that even Republicans who back comprehensive immigration legislation need to push harder for action.
Valadao’s district, which includes parts of Bakersfield, voted 55 percent for Barack Obama in 2012, the Democratic president’s second-best showing in a district that elected a Republican to the House of Representatives.
Democrats need a net win of 17 House seats to wrest the majority from Republicans.
The AFL-CIO ads will be broadcast in English in the Washington metropolitan area.
Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia have said that the House won’t take up the immigration bill passed by the Senate in June. Instead, the House would rewrite the law in pieces, they said.
“The speaker supports step-by-step, common-sense reforms to fix our broken immigration system,” Cory Fritz, Boehner’s spokesman, said in an e-mail.
The House hasn’t passed any immigration-related bills so far this year.