Labor unions join campaign for immigration reform

These days, it seems that almost everyone is getting in on the push for overhauling the U.S. immigration system. The AFL-CIO, which is the largest labor federation in the country, is set to air more than $1 million worth of television ads targeting Republican congressmen who blocked a rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws.

Union taking sides
The ads will focus on Republican-represented districts with large Latino populations, according to Businessweek. And, in an effort to reach Latino voters directly, the ads will be broadcast in Spanish. House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, whose Bakersfield, Calif., district is 36 percent Hispanic, and who worked to impede comprehensive immigration reform, will be among the legislators who will feel the brunt of the union’s offensive.

“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 a 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.”

Other House Republicans who will see the ads aired in their districts include Buck McKeon and Gary Miller of California, Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton of Colorado, Joe Heck of Nevada, Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Daniel Webster of Florida. English language versions of the ads will appear in the Washington, D.C., metro area as well.

Support for immigration reform continues to grow
The AFL-CIO is just the latest major group to get behind an immigration overhaul, increasing pressure on those in Congress who are reluctant to make changes to citizenship requirements and privileges, with one of those being the institution of a national DREAM Act.

But as this support continues to build, and Latino voters are made increasingly aware of their elected representatives unwillingness to work toward comprehensive changes to the system it will be extremely difficult to keep delaying immigration reform.