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Spanish-Language Media Ad Campaign Highlights Hypocrisy of E-Verify’s GOP Backers

by Mahwish Khan on 09/28/2011 at 8:35am

America's Voice and SEIU Spanish Language Media BuyWhile House Republican leaders try to figure out the timing for when they should drop a floor vote on a flawed mandatory E-Verify bill, America’s Voice Education Fund and Service Employees International Union launched a five-figure ad campaign in Spanish-language media to educate constituents about the legislation, which we often refer to as the “GOP’s Jobs-killing Plan.” Elise Foley from Huffington Post explains why in her post about the ad buy:

Currently, E-Verify is a voluntary Internet-based system to help employers confirm that individuals are authorized to work in the United States.  But the system has at times led to false negatives, indicating that legal workers are actually undocumented. This “database full of errors” could put Latinos and other minorities out of work, the ad charges — a claim backed up by the Government Accountability Office and the Center for American Progress.

The ads will run in heavy rotation this week on top Spanish language radio stations and on Friday in the newspaper La Opinión, with the message that “once again, Republicans are pushing a terrible immigration plan that will hurt Latino workers in California and around the country.” They’ll run in districts represented by key advocates for mandatory E-Verify: House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-Camarillo) and House Judiciary Committee Member Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Sacramento). 

Gallegly is a cosponsor of the E-Verify measure and Lungren voted in favor of it last week when it passed the House Judiciary Committee.  Lungren is also one of the leading advocates for adding an agriculture guest worker program to the E-Verify bill.

The campaign highlights Republican hypocrisy for claiming that E-verify will weed out undocumented workers to create jobs for Americans, when errors in the database will actually lead to the firing of hundreds of thousands of authorized workers.  Taking the message to Spanish-language media is particularly important, because naturalized citizens are at least 30 times more likely to be falsely identified as “unauthorized” than native-born citizens.

On a press conference call yesterday, Eliseo Medina, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer, said:

When it comes to immigration policy, no tactic is too extreme for Republicans. In their desperate attempt to carry out a right-wing, strident, nativist agenda, they are happy to cripple our economy and jeopardize the future of key industries like agriculture that rely on immigrant workers. We cannot allow this sort of extreme behavior to go unchecked. Constituents need to understand just how entrenched Republicans are in this anti-immigrant rhetoric and deserve the opportunity to hold them accountable for their reckless behavior.

“Let there be no mistake: Latino constituents understand the devastation of this policy. Janitors, security guards, farm workers and others have all seen it in their communities and they refuse to standby and allow Republicans to wreak further havoc,” added Mike Garcia, President of SEIU-USWW. “Republicans talk endlessly about job creation and never take action. We are taking on this public education campaign because constituents and workers need to know exactly what their elected leaders are doing in Washington, because it certainly is not creating jobs.”

Already, Gallegly’s hometown newspaper, The Ventura County Star, wrote about the ads — and included his rebuttal, which was an attack on SEIU and immigrants:

The ads, which are airing on stations in Santa Barbara, Sacramento and East San Gabriel Valley, specifically single out Gallegly of Simi Valley and Rep. Dan Lungren of Gold River and blast Republican lawmakers in general for pushing to make the E-Verify system mandatory…

“E-Verify is probably the most colorblind way of verifying whether a person has a legal right to be here,” said Gallegly, who chairs a congressional subcommittee on immigration policy. “It’s based on whether there is a valid Social Security card or not. It doesn’t ask about the color of the skin or the language.”

Gallegly also called SEIU “an advocate for illegal immigrants” and suggested the union’s real motive is to increase its membership.

“They oppose E-Verify because they oppose any efforts made to stop illegal immigration because they firmly believe if they hang in there long enough, there will be amnesty and, because of their advocacy for illegals, (workers) will join the brotherhood and increase the size of the unions and union dues,” Gallegly said. “This is not rocket science.”

Just what we’ve come to expect from Gallegly, one of the most vehemently anti-immigrant members of Congress. It’s not rocket science. But, there’s an underlying problem for Gallegly and his colleagues: E-Verify doesn’t work. The Republicans’ E-Verify plan is facing massive resistance from labor unions, small business owners, conservatives, and farmers worried about the longevity of their industry, which everyone knows is heavily reliant upon undocumented workers.

The Republican sponsors of E-Verify know there are serious problems with it. They’re scrambling. To appease growers, House Republicans are also considering a massive new guest worker program.  The plan would allow agriculture interests to replace existing, experienced farmworkers with hundreds of thousands of new temporary workers with no rights and no protections.

“The UFW strongly opposes a new guest worker program with little government oversight because a new guest worker program creates two new problems – even more people looking for work and less protections for farm workers,” said Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers of America.  “The UFW has fought for decades to improve the working conditions of farm workers and the proposed guest worker program would come and destroy all that work.”

The radio ads feature an Oxnard farmworker, an American citizen, who objects to the Republicans’ E-Verify and guest worker plans because they treat farm workers like “disposable machines” rather than human beings.

Listen to the new ad


Following is the text of the radio ads, translated into English. (Original in Spanish further below.)

Announcer

Once again, Republican Congressmen are promoting a terrible immigration plan that would harm Latino workers in California and across the country.

The plan forces companies to use the federal E-Verify system to verify that their workers have authorization (to work). But the program uses a database full of errors that may leave thousands of Latinos out of work.

To make matters worse, they want to bring in half a million new temporary agricultural workers without rights or protections.

Farmworker:

My name is Reynaldo Arevalo.  I’m a citizen of this country and I’ve worked as a mushroom picker for more than 20 years.  This plan treats me and my co-workers like we’re disposable.  We are human beings and we should be treated as such.

Announcer:

Tell these Republican Congressmen that their plan will NOT resolve unemployment nor fix the problems with our immigration system.

Text “ENOUGH” to the number “69866”.  Text messaging charges may apply.

A message from SEIU and America’s Voice Education Fund

Announcer:

Otra vez, congresistas republicanos promueven un terrible plan migratorio que lastimará a trabajadores latinos en California y en todo el país.

El plan obliga a las empresas a usar el  sistema federal E-Verify para verificar que sus trabajadores estén autorizados.  Pero el programa usa bancos de datos llenos de errores que pueden dejar sin trabajo a miles de latinos.

Para empeorar las cosas, quieren traer a medio millón de nuevos trabajadores agrícolas temporales sin derechos ni protecciones.

Farmworker:

Mi nombre es Reynaldo Arevalo.  Soy ciudadano de este país, y he trabajado en la cosecha de los hongos por más de 20 años.  Este plan me trata a mí y a mis compañeros como si fuéramos desechables.   Somos seres humanos y queremos ser tratados como tal.

Announcer:

Dígales a los congresistas republicanos que su plan  NO resolverá el desempleo ni arreglará los problemas del sistema migratorio.

Envíe el texto “BASTA” al número “69866”. Pueden aplicar cargos por mensajes de texto.

Un mensaje de SEIU y el Fondo Educativo de America’s Voice.

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