An ad by NumbersUSA, a group opposed to immigration, which first aired during the presidential debate, has been criticized as “sowing division and fear” because it shows African-American actors highlighting black unemployment, said to be caused by an influx of immigrants.
“What I don’t understand is why our leaders are going to admit another million immigrant workers next year to take jobs when 3 million black Americans can’t find work,” the man in the ad says. “I mean, do our leaders really think black Americans don’t want to work? Let’s slow down mass immigration and save jobs for Americans — all Americans?”
Zack Stanton, a spokesperson Immigrant’s List, which bills itself as America’s number one pro-immigration political action committee, says the ad misrepresents the truth and is all about fear.
“At the most basic level, they’re trying to play to fear about the economy,” he says. “They’re trying to fracture the relationship between African-Americans and the Latino community.”
NumbersUSA defended itself, saying their ad is not “incendiary” or “gutter politics” but an unfiltered look at minority Americans who are being hurt by immigration.
“Most advocates of high immigration pose as especially concerned about our country’s ethnic minorities and about the poor,” wrote Roy Beck, NumbersUSA CEO on the company blog. “But when we cite unemployment statistics for America’s minorities while noting how many foreign workers are being added to compete with them, that really threatens the whole facade of morality that has been built around immigration policies that are disproportionately hurting the poor, especially poor minorities.”
Beck goes on to say that, “we could have run a similar ad with an Hispanic American, dealing with jobless rates that are nearly as bad as for black Americans.”
But Immigrant List’s Stanton says Beck’s reasoning is flawed.
“They can claim they could have run the same ad with a Latino American, but the fact is they didn’t,” he says. “With the Latino community at the forefront of the immigration battle it would have been obvious what they were trying to do so instead they’re trying to create divides.”
NumbersUSA is allied with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as one of three anti-legal immigration organizations founded by John Tanton.