Zuckerberg-backed group makes new immigration push

Published on November 18th, 2013

November 18, 2013

Washington (CNN) – One week after House Speaker John Boehner repeated his vow to never hold a vote on the Senate's immigration reform bill, a public advocacy group backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says it's launching a new ad campaign urging congressional leaders to take action on the issue.

FWD.us announced Monday a new series of English and Spanish-language TV commercials called "We Wait" that it says will run on national cable and in some key local markets, as well as online. A source with knowledge of the group's efforts says FWD.us is spending six figures on the ad buy.

The 60-second spot starts with a narrator saying "on the need to fix our broken immigration system, there are signs both political parties in Washington get it."

It then uses a clip of President Barack Obama saying "Washington is lagging behind the country on this," and Boehner saying "this issue has been around far too long."

The ads also use clips of House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy talking about the need for immigration reform.

The spot concludes with the narrator saying "Americans are tired of empty rhetoric. It is time for every leader to come through on their promise and fix our broken immigration system. Tell Congress: the time is now. Fix America's broken immigration system."

After the GOP lost last year's battle for the White House and failed to win back the Senate, thanks in part to a very poor performance with Hispanic voters, some Republican leaders said it was time for Congress to pass immigration reform.

In June the Senate passed an immigration reform bill, with some GOP support, that includes an eventual pathway to citizenship for most of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants. But thanks to fierce opposition from a large bloc of House conservatives, the bill appears dead in the House.

Last week Boehner not only repeated his long standing opposition to voting on the Senate measure, he went a step further by saying "I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill."

Most national polling indicates strong support for the Senate bill, including backing from a majority of Republicans.

Politico was first to report the new ad.

Zuckerberg, who backs FWD.us, has embraced immigration reform, telling CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo in August that  "my goal in this is to help support folks who care deeply about getting this done on both sides and hopefully we can make a difference."

"Eleven million undocumented people. That's a lot of people who's lives we can improve and make the country stronger," added Zuckerberg.

–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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