Latino constituent education campaign begins as House Republicans considertiming for votes on E-Verify, guest worker proposals
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As House Republican leaders weigh the timing for a floor vote on a flawed mandatory E-Verify bill, America’s Voice Education Fund and Service Employees International Union launched a five-figure Spanish-language media campaign to educate constituents about the pending legislation.
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.” 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.
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 reliable upon undocumented workers. 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 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.
The ads will 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.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund: “Reps. Gallegly and Lungren have sizable Latino populations in their districts, and their constituents deserve to know the truth. The Republicans’ master plan would endanger the jobs of millions of Latinos—including U.S. citizens wrongly flagged by the government’s database—and import hundreds of thousands of new guest workers to replace them. It would push more jobs and workers into the underground economy, grow the deficit, and expand red tape and costs for small businesses. That’s no solution to our broken immigration system. We’re launching this campaign to make sure California Latinos know what their ‘leaders’ in Washington are up to.”
Other Republican members of the California delegation are supportive of making E-Verify mandatory, despite the very real consequences they will have on California workers, industries, and taxpayers, while Democrats like Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Howard Berman are leading the charge to defeat them. In addition to running in Gallegly and Lungren’s districts, the ads will also run in Los Angeles, criticizing California Republicans in general for their role pushing a mandatory E-verify and guest worker package in Congress.
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.”
Mike Garcia, SEIU-USWW President, explained, “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,” explained 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.”
Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers of America, commented, “The current labor force is comprised of professional farm workers who possess essential skills needed to maintain the viability of the agricultural industry. We know that it will be impossible to replace the million unauthorized workers who are currently working in agriculture with US workers who have no experience in agriculture. The UFW strongly opposes a new guest worker program with little government oversight because a new guestworker program creates two new problems – even more people looking for work and less protections for farm workers. 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.”
Text of the radio ad (English and Spanish):
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
For more information on the E-Verify and guest worker plan, see:
America’s Voice Report on the Impacts of this Plan on California (America’s Voice)
Summary of Smith’s E-Verify Bill (National Immigration Law Center)
Summary of Pending Guest Worker Bills, Other Resources (Farmworker Justice)
Costs of E-Verify (Center for American Progress)
Small Business Opposition to E-Verify (quotes compiled by National Immigration Law Center)
Labor Perspective on E-Verify (Service Employees International Union)
Conservative Perspective on E-Verify (National Foundation for American Policy)
Farmworker Justice Report on Abuses in the H-2A Guest Worker Program (Farmworker Justice)