WASHINGTON -- The AFL-CIO isn't giving up on comprehensive immigration reform. The largest federation of unions in the U.S. launched a series of television ads on Wednesday in districts with large Latino populations, urging them to ask their representatives in the House to support reform.
The ads will be accompanied by mobilizations within the district, including rallies and press events, according to the AFL-CIO.
House Republicans have shown little interest in comprehensive immigration reform resembling the bill passed by the Senate in June, or any other legislation that includes a path to citizenship. Although leadership in the GOP has said they still want to address immigration this year, there's little time left, and bills such as the Kids Act, which would give legal status to undocumented young people, have yet to materialize.
But immigration reform advocates hope that by continuing actions, they can remind Republicans of what many see as an electoral imperative: address immigration reform so the GOP can be competitive with Latino voters. Reform supporters will specifically call for a chance for citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and measures that they argue would protect workers.
The ads will air in Bakersfield, Calif.; Atlanta, Ga.; Orlando, Fla.; and Denver, Colo. in Spanish, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in English. The specific members targeted in the mobilization efforts are Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). Valadao and Denham already signed on as co-sponsors to a Democratic-led comprehensive immigration reform bill.
The ads quote Republican members speaking against immigration measures, according to a transcript from AFL-CIO, and ask Latino voters to speak out.
"Republicans compare immigrants to animals, call Dreamers 'drug mules,' one Republican even said he'd 'do anything short of shooting' the undocumented," a voiceover says. "Now they’re blocking a pathway to citizenship, keeping millions in the shadows.
"Call Congress," the ad continues. "Tell your representative if Republicans refuse to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we’ll know why."
Watch one of the ads above.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement Wednesday that the labor movement will continue to push for reform until it passes.
"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," he said. "Every day, over 1,000 people are deported, while House Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship and workers’ rights. We won’t stop until the deportation crisis ends and aspiring Americans have the roadmap to citizenship they deserve."