Major Labor Union Launches Two-Week Ad Campaign In Key House Republican Districts

CREDIT: Esther Y. Lee

On Wednesday, the largest pro-immigration labor union AFL-CIO launched a bilingual ad campaign that calls out some House Republicans for obstructing comprehensive immigration reform and resorting to anti-immigrant sentiments. The two-week, seven-figure ad purchase will run online, on Spanish media, and in nine key House Republican districts with sizable Latino populations, in order to pressure House Republicans into cosponsoring a comprehensive immigration reform bill by the end of the Congressional year.

One version of the ad features disparaging anti-immigrant sentiments by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve King (R-IA), and Mo Brooks (R-AL). Another version of the ad features Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), King, and Brooks. A voice over indicates that constituents can blame House Republicans for blocking immigration reform and asks them to text the word “SHAME” to a number for more information.

During a conference call with reporters, President Richard Trumka said that the $1 million ad campaign was “the first phase, but there might be a second and third phase… whatever it takes to get House Republicans moving.”

The ads will air in Bakersfield, CA; Denver, CO; Orlando, FL; Atlanta, GA; and Washington, D.C. They will also air in the Congressional districts of House Republican Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Gary Miller (R-CA), Buck McKeon (R-CA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Daniel Webster (R-FL), and Joe Heck (R-NV). The polling organization Latino Decisions identified these districts as “vulnerable” because these districts have a large Latino population.

Despite Denham and Valadao both signing on as cosponsors of a comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by House Republicans, the ad will still run in their districts as a way to pressure them to demand other House Republicans to join as cosponsors.

“It’s true that a grand total of three Republicans have supported HR 15 [the House Democrats’ bill], but it’s not enough, our coalition partners have publicly thanked those people, there’s no easy road here, we want results,” Tom Snyder, the AFL-CIO immigration campaign director, said on the call. “It’s not enough to throw your names on something. You need to organize colleagues in your house. You need to publicly demand House leadership to vote. We don’t presume that just cosponsoring would work. We are thankful, but we expect more.”

In the past, other pro-immigration organizations have launched ads in some of the same districts targeted by the AFL-CIO. The ads overlap in the districts of Heck, McKeon, Miller, Tipton, and Webster. Of those districts, only Heck has so far expressed frustration at the House leadership for stalling on reform.