Immigration Reform Supporters Outspending Opponents On Ads 3-1

Immigration Reform Supporters in Washington, D.C.
Reform supporters at the Rally for Citizenship on Capitol Hill in April. AP

An analysis of television advertising across the United States so far in 2013 by Kantar Media, a media monitoring and marketing company, finds that supporters of the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently being contemplated by the Senate are outspending opponents by more than 3 to 1. Backers have poured in more than $2.4 million so far this year, in contrast to the approximate $717,000 contributed by opponents, according to USA Today; 41 percent of the $2.4 million went toward Spanish-language ads, while none of the opponents' money was appropriated for Spanish-language use.

The AFL-CIO, the biggest federation of unions in the United States, has put about $419,000 toward ads supporting it, and another labor group, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), unveiled today the fifth ad in a blitz of commercials. The SEIU says the amount of money contributed to the ad campaign reaches seven figures. The five spots feature five different groups of people showing their support for the reform - veterans, small business owners, DREAMers, law enforcement officials and Republican voters. An ally of the group, Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum, indicated to that the reform backers' advantage in ad spending was a reflection of a broad coalition of support for the bill, saying, "The other side has outspent proponents of immigration reform pretty significantly over the past decade. Only now are we starting to catch up. But I think more importantly, now you've conservative faith voices, you've got business, you've got labor, you have law enforcement, all making their opinions known in paid advertisements."

Watch a SEIU ad below.

Religious leaders have also chipped in. NBC Latino reported at the end of May that the Evangelical Immigration Table has sunk a quarter of a million dollars into a radio ad campaign in 13 states urging listeners to support the reform as the Christian thing to do. The campaign also provided for billboards to be set up near statehouses in Texas and North Carolina.

The pro-legislation side even counts Crossroads GPS among its ranks -- an advocacy group backed by Karl Rove, a GOP strategist and former senior advisor to George W. Bush. It is launching a $100,000 ad campaign aimed at convincing conservatives to support an overhaul of laws.

Among opponents of the bill are Numbers USA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which support proposals that would reduce immigration levels, as well as the Heritage Foundation, which is putting $100,000 toward online ads opposing the bill. Watch an ad from NumbersUSA below.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.