Labor presses for immigration measure among key Republicans

Protestors demonstrate for immigration reform in front of the Illinois GOP headquarters in Chicago.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

As Congress begins to deliberate overhauling the nation’s immigration policy, several California Republicans are being eyed as persuadable targets by those supporting legalization for the millions of people who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas.

Reps. Gary Miller of Diamond Bar, Howard “Buck” McKeon of Santa Clarita, and Jeff Denham and David Valadao of the Central Valley are frequently named as potential supporters of a comprehensive immigration package, in part because of the make-up of their districts. On Monday, Service Employees International Union, the politically active labor organization, launched Spanish-language radio ads in 12 districts across the nation, including these four in California.

The ads highlight controversial statements some Republicans have made about those in the country illegally, such as labeling them “takers,” and urge listeners to call their representative’s office.

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“ … tell him to reject the extremists in his party and support immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” the ad concludes.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is convening a meeting of Republican members this week to discuss their response to a bipartisan bill approved by the Senate that includes a 13-year citizenship path for immigrants without legal status.

The lobbying on both sides is intense. On Monday, the same day the labor group started its ads, a conservative group launched television advertising urging House lawmakers to support a $46-billion “border surge” including 20,000 new border patrol agents, 700 miles of fencing and drones as a requisite of any immigration overhaul.


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