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New Ad Attempts to Mislead American People on GOP Principles


The Mark Zuckerberg-funded group, Americans for a Conservative Direction, has launched another television ad with the hope of advancing the immigration principles that were unveiled at last week's GOP retreat. Zuckerberg is the founder of both Facebook and the pro-amnesty group FWD.us, which helps subsidize Americans for a Conservative Direction. The ads make an enthusiastic push on behalf of the GOP principles, but the information is vaguely presented in an attempt to mislead the American people.


The main theme of the ad is to sell the "step-by-step" approach included in the principles. The "step-by-step" process has also been advanced by House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, and Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte. Here's what the principles say:

"The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach..."

The term "step-by-step" might be one of the more ambiguous terms floating around Washington these days, and its exact meaning could determine how the immigration debate proceeds.

First, does a "step-by-step" approach mean the House will pass enforcement legislation and hold off on anything that deals with the illegal-alien population or legal immigration increases until they see the enforcement provisions faithfully executed? Or, does a "step-by-step" approach mean passing a series of bills and then combining them into one comprehensive bill that's filled with "triggers" and resembles the Schumer-Rubio-Obama amnesty bill before shipping it off to the Senate? 

The "step-by-step" comprehensive approach was first introduced by Boehner's immigration staffer Becky Tallent when she served as Director of Immigration Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. There, she worked with the Center's Immigration Task Force that was co-chaired by former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour who, coincidently, serves on the board for Americans for a Conservative Direction. Further, the principles seem to indicate that there will eventually be a comprehensive bill with the inclusion of a "trigger" concept:

"...none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced." 

Americans for a Conservative Direction never defines what the "step-by-step" approach means, but by making it the central theme of the plan, they clearly think they can trick the American people with a "step-by-step" approach that will most likely result in a comprehensive bill.


The ad defines Step 1 as "secure the border and tough employment verification." Again, securing the border is an ambiguous term. For most on the pro-enforcement side, securing the border means actual results, including the standard established by the Secure Fence Act of 2006. That legislation required the Department of Homeland Security to achieve 100% operational control of the border, and defined the border as ALL international land and maritime borders - not just the Southwest border.

The House Homeland Security Committee has already passed a border security bill - the Border Security Results Act of 2013. Could this be the first step of the process? If so, it weakens the border security standard established by the Secure Fence Act. As our legislative analyst Grant Newman has pointed out, the bill would only require DHS to SUMBIT A PLAN to obtain a 90% apprehension rate only along the Southwest border. Furthermore, the bill would allow the agency to develop its own metrics for determining its effectiveness.

The ad implies that the border will be secured before moving on to Step 2, but again, the immigration principles indicate that there could be a broader piece of legislation with "triggers." 


Also defined as part of Step 1 is employment verification. We agree that an effective employment verification system that's used by all employers is the best way to turn off the jobs magnet that causes most illegal immigration, but there's some contradiction between the ad and the actual principles. In the ad, Americans for a Conservative Direction clearly associate workplace verification with E-Verify. (It's displayed on the screen three times!) The principles, however, fail to mention E-Verify:

"It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system." 

E-Verify has become the most effective tool to combat illegal employment. Just last month, USCIS bragged about how more than 500,000 employers now use E-Verify, and how more than 20 million hirings were processed by the system in 2012. But why did the authors of the principles exclude E-Verify, and why did Americans for a Conservative Direction include it in the ad if it's not part of the principles?

One might suspect that the ad mentions E-Verify because the system is widely-recognized and popular with the American people. In doing so, Americans for a Conservative Direction hope to gain more support for the GOP plan.

The Schumer-Rubio-Obama amnesty bill replaces E-Verify with a new employment verification system. It's possible that the authors of the GOP principles also support creating a new system so it delays its implementation while other parts of the plan (amnesty) are executed more quickly.


The ad defines both Steps 2 and 3 of the GOP plan as the amnesty. Of course, it explicitly states, however, that the plan is NOT amnesty because anyone here illegally would have to "undergo a criminal background check" and "pay fines, taxes, and learn English." They leave out the part about illegal aliens being able to continue living and working in the United States while millions of foreign citizens try to come the legal way and millions of Americans struggle to find work. 

By only focusing on the enforcement and amnesty principles, Americans for a Conservative Direction are trying to keep the attention off of the other principles. Mainly, they completely ignore the massive increases in legal immigration, including green cards for foreign students who graduate from America's colleges and universities and guest worker programs for agriculture and other industries. This is what the Zuckerberg types really want from "reform," but even they know that in a jobs depression with a record number of people not in the labor force, a push for more foreign workers isn't exactly a popular notion. So, they just pretend it doesn't exist.

The ad ends by tugging on the viewer's heart strings with images of children swinging on swings. These are meant to represent the children who were brought to the country illegally by their parents and will receive a special path to citizenship through the GOP plan.

Again, it's not that the new ad is filled with factual errors, but instead, the information is vaguely presented and uses the most popular talking points of any comprehensive immigration plan. It's meant to mislead the American people to gain support for an already unpopular plan in hopes that they'll pressure Congress to move forward anyway.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA

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