PITTSBURGH, PA: An immigration-reform coalition has launched a public education campaign challenging President Bush?s contention that foreign workers are only taking jobs Americans won?t do.
The Coalition for the Future American Worker (CFAW) kicked off its advertising campaign with a press conference in Pittsburgh, PA, on November 30. The campaign's TV spots feature US workers who attribute wage depression and job displacement in their communities to the influx of illegal immigrants.
The ads, developed by DC-based Davis & Co., will be appearing in selected regions around the country. The coalition has not determined how long the campaign will run, said Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a member of the coalition. Other coalition members include the Information Technology Professionals Association of America and the American Engineering Association.
On November 28, Bush declared a new get-tough approach to illegal immigration during a speech at a military base in Arizona. The harsher tone on immigration came in response to conservative critics who view the administration's policies as too immigrant-friendly.
The President also called for a guest-worker program that would allow about 11 million illegal immigrants to work legally in the country for up to six years before forcing them to return home.
"Obviously, the White House has done some polls and they found out what everybody else knows ? that the American public is alarmed about massive illegal immigration," Mehlman said. "The President is determined to make the American people think he is serious about it even when he's not."
Quinn Gillespie Associates is working with the White House on building a coalition among business leaders and lawmakers ? Americans for Border and Economic Security ? to advance an immigration reform package strong enough to withstand attacks from organizations, like CFAW, that favor stricter laws against immigration.
CFAW, however, still is not satisfied with the administration's approach to immigration. The coalition contends that all of the jobs with current high rates of foreign workers were recently filled by US citizens. "These are jobs that Americans used to do up until fairly recently and would be happy to do again if they could a make living doing it," Mehlman said.