Big Labor Calling Out House GOP on Immigration

Janet Murguia, National Council of la Raza President and CEO, and Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, listen to questions from reporters outside the West Wing after a meeting at the White House February 5, 2013 in Washington,DC. Obama met with labor leaders to talk about immigration reform. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
Nov. 6, 2013, 3:28 p.m.

It turns out that co­spon­sor­ing a com­pre­hens­ive im­mig­ra­tion-re­form bill isn’t enough for im­mig­ra­tion sup­port­ers.

The AFL-CIO on Wed­nes­day began what it’s dubbed an “es­cal­a­tion” of im­mig­ra­tion-re­lated activ­it­ies, in­ten­ded to push House Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship to put a com­pre­hens­ive re­form bill on the floor. The labor group will also launch in-dis­trict cam­paigns aimed at Re­pub­lic­ans already signed onto the House bill.

“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 told re­port­ers Wed­nes­day.

The cam­paign in­cludes a two-week, sev­en-fig­ure ad buy for Span­ish-lan­guage spots in a hand­ful of mar­kets and voter-con­tact pro­grams in nine con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. Only three House Re­pub­lic­ans have co­sponsored the House’s com­pre­hens­ive im­mig­ra­tion bill — and two of them are be­ing tar­geted by the AFL-CIO.

“It’s not enough to just throw your name on something. You need to be or­gan­iz­ing your col­leagues in the House,” said Tom Snyder, the AFL-CIO’s im­mig­ra­tion cam­paign man­ager.

“We’re not go­ing to let them off the hook simply be­cause they co­spon­sor; they have to do more. We’ve asked them to pub­licly call out for a vote. Have they done that? No.”

Span­ish-lan­guage ads will run in Den­ver; At­lanta; Or­lando, Fla.; and Bakersfield, Cal­if., which is in House Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy’s dis­trict. Eng­lish-lan­guage ads, which jux­ta­pose pic­tures of im­mig­rant chil­dren, sol­diers, and fam­il­ies with con­tro­ver­sial state­ments from Rep. Steve King of Iowa, among oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans, will air in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., area.

Re­pub­lic­an Reps. Dav­id Valadao and Jeff Den­ham of Cali­for­nia will be tar­geted by in-dis­trict mo­bil­iz­a­tions. They both signed onto the com­pre­hens­ive bill in the House, which mir­rors the Sen­ate-passed bill (ex­cept for its bor­der se­cur­ity pro­vi­sion, which is re­placed by a bi­par­tis­an House bor­der bill).

“I have been work­ing with col­leagues on both sides of the aisle to push the dis­cus­sion of im­mig­ra­tion re­form for­ward,” Den­ham said in a state­ment to Na­tion­al Journ­al. “I will con­tin­ue that ef­fort in com­ing weeks and look for­ward to hav­ing a full de­bate with the Amer­ic­an people re­gard­ing this im­port­ant is­sue. My im­me­di­ate goal is to show the speak­er how much sup­port there is for full re­form.”

Valadao spokes­wo­man Anna Vet­ter said in a state­ment that im­mig­ra­tion is a “top pri­or­ity” for the con­gress­man, and re­ferred to the por­tray­al that he hasn’t shown lead­er­ship on the is­sue as “flag­rantly in­ac­cur­ate.”

“Con­gress­man Dav­id G. Valadao will con­tin­ue to work with reas­on­able lead­ers from both parties on the is­sue of im­mig­ra­tion re­form un­til a solu­tion is reached,” she said.

Den­ham and Valadao are both fa­cing com­pet­it­ive races, ac­cord­ing to The Cook Polit­ic­al Re­port.

Oth­er House Re­pub­lic­ans be­ing tar­geted in­clude Reps. Gary Miller and Buck McK­eon of Cali­for­nia, Mike Coff­man and Scott Tipton of Col­or­ado, Steve Pearce of New Mex­ico, Daniel Web­ster of Flor­ida, and Joe Heck of Nevada.

The pres­sure, Snyder said, is in­ten­ded to push for pas­sage of the im­mig­ra­tion bill, rather than for polit­ic­al reas­ons. But if they don’t mo­bil­ize to pass com­pre­hens­ive im­mig­ra­tion re­form, he said, “they have to un­der­stand that when elec­tion time comes, then we’re pre­pared to make something hap­pen.”

When pressed, Snyder said that that “something” is “to de­feat them.”

What We're Following See More »
Omnibus Released
11 hours ago

The $1.3 trillion agreement to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year is expected to come up for a vote in the House soon.

How Trade Associations Come Down on the Tariffs
15 hours ago

The Economist

White House Backs Omnibus Spending Bill
16 hours ago

"The White House is backing a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill despite opposition from some House conservatives ... 'The President and the leaders discussed their support for the bill, which includes more funds to rebuild the military, such as the largest pay raise for our troops in a decade, more than 100 miles of new construction for the border wall and other key domestic priorities, like combatting the opioid crisis and rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure,' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement." The details of the bill are expected to be released later today.

Another Short-Term CR May Be in the Works
18 hours ago

"Administration officials said they expect Congress to pass a stopgap bill to avert a third government shutdown this year as lawmakers scramble to finalize a must-pass omnibus spending bill. White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told CNN Tuesday that negotiators are getting closer to reaching an agreement, but there are "too many obstacles to tackle" for the omnibus bill to make it out of the lower chamber by Thursday."

Federal Offices Are Closed Due to Weather
22 hours ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.