$200,000 ad campaign hits Ryan’s immigration plan

Republican budget chief Rep. Paul Ryan is the target of a new home-state TV-ad by an anti-immigration group.

The $200,000 radio and TV ad campaign starts Monday, and is timed for the August recess when Ryan is expected to be at home, defending his calls for an immigration bill that would boost the inflow of low-skill and high-skill workers, despite Americans’ declining wages and high unemployment rates.

“Congressman Paul Ryan says we have a labor shortage in Wisconsin. That’s right, a labor shortage,” says the ad, produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

“Tell that to the 12 percent unemployed in Racine, the 10 percent unemployment in Milwaukee, the 9 percent unemployment in Janesville. Thousands are looking for work, yet Ryan supports a plan that could double immigration, grant amnesty to illegal aliens, and bring in millions more foreign workers to take jobs,” the ad says,

“Does Congressman Ryan think Wisconsin workers are not good enough to get the work done? Help us stand with the American worker.”

The ad illustrates the groups’ focus on immigrants’ impact on jobs rather than the much-debated issue of border security, which has been given much attention by politicians, advocates, lobbyists and journalists.

“Congressman Ryan needs to explain to thousands of Wisconsin workers… why he wants to increase immigration in order to avert a labor shortage that clearly does not exist,” said a statement from Dan Stein, FAIR’s president.

“Wisconsin has 210,000 unemployed workers. Does Congressman Ryan think they’re not good enough to get the job done?”

The ad follows Ryan’s increasing public push for a major immigration rewrite.

“We have been listening to the American people,” he told CBS Aug. 4. “So what we’re going to do is take a step-by-step approach to get immigration right, not a big massive bill but separate bills so people know what’s in these bills,” he said.

“We need to fix our legal immigration system [because] people come to this country based on family relations, not based on skills,” he said.

Ryan can afford to lose some voters to the ad-campaign — he won his November 2012 election with 60 percent of the vote.

But criticism of Ryan has increased partly because he is lobbying his fellow Republican legislators to vote for an immigration rewrite that is unpopular with much of the Republican base, just as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio rallied support for the Senate’s immigration rewrite, which passed in late June.

Also, Ryan has met several times with a Wisconsin progressive group, Voces de le Frontera, that has campaigned for an amnesty, and against border security, the E-verify verification system, and deportations of illegal immigrants.

“We treat people with fairness and respect by giving them a path to citizenship with a probationary visa,” Ryan told the groups’ members during a May 8 meeting in Racine.