Anti-Amnesty Ad Invokes MLK's 'I Have A Dream' Speech

Published on January 15th, 2015

Jennifer G. Hickey
January 15, 2015
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In the week leading up to the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday, his famous “I Have A Dream” speech is being used as an argument against President Barack Obama’s executive action that will grant worker amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

The black and white ad, which will air this week on national cable news channels, poses the question of how the slain civil rights leader “would feel about 19 percent of African-Americans being unemployed or underemployed?”

The ad continues, asking: “[What] About giving amnesty and work permits to four million illegal aliens with so many Americans jobless? About admitting one million more immigrant workers in 2015 when 13 percent of Hispanic Americans are having trouble finding work? About Americans of all races not seeing a real wage increase in decades?”

“Was that Dr. King’s dream?” the ad concludes.

The unemployment figures cited in the advertisement include not only those who are unemployed, but individuals who are defined as underemployed, part time and who have dropped out of the labor force, reports USA Today.

“The great Dr. Martin Luther King promoted equal treatment for all Americans. But President Obama is putting the interests of immigrant workers ahead of American workers who want jobs,” commented Joe Guzzardi, National Media Director for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), the group which produced the ad.

On Wednesday, the House voted 236-191 to pass a bill that would block funding for Obama’s immigration executive orders.

The measure included an amendment to prevent funds to support an executive action permitting some illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. while they obtain work permits, and another that places a hold on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), which halts the deportation of individuals who arrived illegally as children, reports Bloomberg News.

The vote drew a response from supporters of Obama’s immigration policies that matched the CAPS ad in its rhetorical flourish.

“The immoral, impractical bill pushed by extremists and shepherded by Republican leadership in the House today would decimate millions of immigrant families. Republican leaders have shown that they are willing to let extremists advance their highest priority in this debate: attacking and separating spouses from each other, parents from their children, brothers from their sisters. Immigrant voices have risen up in support of the president’s administrative actions protecting families, and we will fight like hell to ensure that these protections are upheld,” said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz in a press statement.

SEIU also went on the air this week with digital advertisements targeting a dozen Republican members of Congress in districts that have large Latino and Asian populations, according to the Fresno Bee.

The lobbying by both sides of the contentious issue will continue as the House-passed measure moves to the Senate, where Republicans face a challenge to find the votes to secure passage. It is more likely that the Senate will pass a stripped-down version of the bill, but leaders remain uncertain at the moment.

“Well, we’ll take it up. I just can’t tell you the timing.

“If we can’t pass the House bill, we’ll have to come up with an idea of what can pass the Senate,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told Politico on Wednesday after the House vote.

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