Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg is funding two new TV ads intended to covertly restart the stalled push for an dramatic immigration increase.
Both of the well-produced TV ads targets GOP Rep. Steve King, and both promote the recruitment of illegal immigrants into the U.S. military.
The ads are also intended to scare off other GOP and Democratic legislators who want U.S. immigration law to help American families and workers, not to help U.S-based employers and immigrants, said a Hill staffer.
“Open borders business groups believe that House members who support a pro-American immigration policy are the primary obstacle to their ability to hire more cheap labor,” he said. “It is clear they’re gong to use their money in this and coming cycles to try to shove these members out of the party.”
Those leaders, however, such as GOP Rep. Mo Brooks and Sen. Jeff Sessions, are popular in their districts, partly because most voters share their skepticism towards any increased inflow in immigration or guest workers.
Business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and major donors, are jumping into GOP’s primary battles. For example, in North Carolina, they’re supporting state Rep. Thom Tillls in the GOP’s Senate nomination battle in North Carolina, and running adds against Rep. Walter Jones, who is facing a primary fight with a business-backed Republican.
Business and progressive groups want to raise the current annual inflow of 1 million immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest-workers. Additional workers reduce labor costs, increase consumption, and tend to vote Democratic if they become citizens. Zuckerberg and other high-tech leaders want to increase the hiring of low-wage foreign professionals, in place of the 800,000 Americans who graduate each year with high-tech university degrees.
The new ads are produced by the Zuckerberg-founded FWD.US group, whose membership includes billionaires and millionaires from the information-technology and venture-capital sectors. The group has hired former top GOP and Democratic staffers to target amnesty opponents.
The new ads are “the treachery coming from the highest levels of the GOP establishment,” according Dan Horowitz, the policy director for the Madison Project, which opposes a major amnesty. Zuckerberg’s former GOP aides are “supporting Obama’s prized initiative for his second term – mass amnesty for illegals and a permanent Democrat majority,” said Horowitz.
One of Zuckerberg’s new ads features an illegal immigrant who enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corp’s reserve training program, and who has not been allowed by the administration to join the military.
A second ad highlights several images of apparent immigrants who have enlisted and urges viewers to call King’s office to say that “his hateful comments weaken our military.”
The ads exploit King’s blunt April 2 statement that illegal immigrants who apply to join the U.S. military should be sent home. “As soon as they raise their hand and say ‘I’m unlawfully present in the United States,’ we’re not going to take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana,” King said.
“Instead of supporting our military, Steve King, a Republican member of Congress, insults the brave soldiers who are immigrants and those who would proudly serve,” the ad claims.
Top Democratic leaders also quickly slammed King for his comments.
Both new ads boost an draft amendment to the 2015 defense bill that would allow Hill Democrats another chance to win a big immigration increase this year.
The Secretary of Defense already has the legal authority to accept illegal immigrants on a case-by-case basis, but the amendment would ease recruitment of foreigners in place of Americans.
The amendment is dubbed the ENLIST Act, and is being sponsored by GOP Rep. Jeff Denham, who represents a farm district in California. Agricultural employers are strong backers of immigration increases, because they prefer to hire cheap migrant workers instead of investing in new crop-picking machinery.
If GOP leaders allow the amendment to be added to the bill, and then passed by the full House, it would allow leaders in the Senate and House to include a large immigration rewrite in the must-pass defense bill.
That immigration rewrite could consist of a small amnesty for younger illegals, or a copy of the Senate’s June 2013 bill, which would triple the inflow of legal immigrants and guest workers to 40 million over the next decade. That huge inflow is roughly equal to the number of Americans youths who will join the workforce by 2024 in search of decent jobs.
For the moment, the amendment has been blocked by opposition from the American Legion. On Friday, President Barack Obama met with the head of the American Legion.
Many aspects of the Senate bill — especially the increased inflow of guest-workers — are unpopular among GOP supporters and swing voters, whom the party needs to vote in November. However, the bill is popular among progressives and wealthy voters.
The public is strongly opposed to increased immigration, partly because wages are at a 63-year record low share of annual income, profits are at a 85-year record high of annual income, and the middle-class is shrinking fast. Last June, the CBO reported that the Senate bill would shift even more of the nation’s annual income away from wages earners and toward investors.