SEIU targets GOP in immigration ads

Television ads by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched in seven swing congressional districts and Washington, D.C., on Thursday, pressuring House Republicans to move forward on immigration reform.

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The ads are airing in the districts of GOP Reps. Gary Miller (Calif.), Joe Heck (Nev.), Mike Coffman (Colo.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), John Kline (Minn.), and David Joyce (Ohio). Another is airing in D.C., and is meant to target Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“John Boehner talks and talks about getting things done in Washington, but what have we seen?” the ad says.

“And while the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform months ago, there’s still no vote by Boehner and the House Republicans to fix our broken immigration system,” it continues. “Speaker Boehner’s job is to get things done, and he’s not. Call Speaker Boehner. Tell him enough talking. It’s time for a vote on immigration reform.”

The 31-second ads cost the union $500,000. SEIU has already spent $2.5 million on a campaign to push for immigration reform this year, according to its statement.

“Our message to these House Republicans is clear,” SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz said. “Enough talk — it is time for action. If Republican members support common-sense immigration reform, they must tell Speaker Boehner that [the] time is now to bring a bill to the floor for a vote that includes a pathway to citizenship. 

“One year out from the midterm elections, Speaker Boehner is putting members of his caucus at risk. Common-sense immigration reform is smart politics, good policy and the right thing to do,” said Sáenz.

SEIU’s ad blitz comes on the heels of AFL-CIO’s similar campaign that launched Wednesday, and whose ads will run in districts with large Hispanic populations. They're airing in Spanish in Atlanta; Bakersfield, Calif.; Denver and Orlando, Fla. They will also air in English in the D.C. area.

The AFL-CIO’s ads will cost more than $1 million, according to President Richard Trumka. The SEIU is a member of the AFL-CIO — and have both been major donors to the Democrats and President Obama. 

A few weeks ago, Obama delivered a statement in the White House’s East Room urging House GOP lawmakers to pass immigration reform by the end of the year. 

No significant movement has happened within their caucus yet, but several Republicans have recently signed onto a Democratic-led immigration reform bill introduced by Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.). They are Reps. Jeff Denham (Calif.), David Valadao (Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).

The Senate passed the Gang of Eight legislation in June, but Speaker Boehner has refused to take up that version in the House.

In Obama’s recent remarks, he said he’s now open to any type of legislation as long as it provides a path to citizenship.