(CNSNews.com) - Less than two weeks after a controversial immigration measure died in the Senate, a self-described conservative group Monday announced a nationwide broadcast campaign "defending the Bush administration's approach to comprehensive immigration reform" -- and even supporting the notion of amnesty for illegal aliens.
The new campaign drew criticism from other conservative organizations, including some who were instrumental in the June 28 defeat of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. One activist told Cybercast News Service that the group behind the new effort is "terribly misguided."
"The Senate's failure to pass S. 1639 most obviously affects border security," said Richard Nadler, president of America's Majority, in a news release launching his group's 60-second spots. "Congress will enter 2008 without funding for additional fence, border agents or holding beds, and without a system of tamper-proof employee identification."
As a result, he added, "the policy of the United States remains what it was: de facto amnesty along an uncontrolled border."
"But the collateral damage to the conservative movement, largely self-inflicted, is also severe," Nadler stated.
"A substantial portion of the political right fell prey to the talk radio-fed delusion that support for deportation of illegals exceeded support for their amnesty among the general public," he said.
"The truth is precisely opposite, as polling by the America's Majority Foundation has confirmed," Nadler asserted. "By a margin of two to one, the American public prefers to amnesty illegal aliens, either as guest workers or as eventual citizens.
"The self-fed delusion of the unpopularity of Hispanic migrant labor led most of the informal organs of the political right to attack those conservative, pro-Hispanic politicians of the South and West who harbored no such delusions," he stated.
"Regrettably, many of the formal organs of the political right followed suit," Nadler continued. "In the process, conservative prospects have been severely damaged in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Texas."
With the goal of "building a conservative consensus" on the issue, the Kansas-based think tank has prepared 10 audio messages. They are being premiered in South Carolina and Arizona but can also be heard on the group's website.
During a spot entitled "The 32 Million," a narrator says: "On talk radio, I used to learn about subjects that mattered to me - things like school choice and tax cuts.
"But now, all I hear is 'Latino gang bangers,' 'Mexicans who can't drive,' 'Hispanics with too many babies.' You insult people who came here illegally to feed their families. You are so obsessed with these 12 million that you forget the 32 million Latinos who are here legally," the ad states.
In another spot, entitled "Frankness," a narrator says: "Amnesty means you don't punish someone for a crime. And as far as Latino workers are concerned, if illegal entry is the worst they've done, I'm for amnesty."
As for arresting employers who hire illegal aliens, the ad asserts that to accomplish this, the police must "harass innumerable ranchers, farmers, builders and small business owners for the so-called crime of hiring willing labor for needed work."
'Late to the party'
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the Senate needed 60 votes out of 100 to end debate and hold a vote on S. 1639, but supporters of the bill could only manage 46.
Among conservative groups opposing the bill was the Federation for American Immigration Reform, whose press secretary, Bob Dane, reiterated the view Monday that Americans recognized from the start "that it was amnesty."
Regarding talk radio's role in the measure's defeat, Dane told Cybercast News Service that "it really represented the will of the people" as indicated in numerous public opinion polls. He pointed to a USA Today survey in which 81 percent said they think illegal immigration is out of control in the United States.
"Partisanship and politics aside," Dane said, America's Majority is "terribly misguided."
"If they didn't get the message that the will of the people rejected this amnesty plan sugarcoated with a little bit of enforcement, then they need to go back and look at the astounding dynamics that led to the defeat of the bill," he added.
"America's Majority is late to the party," Jessica Echard, executive director of the conservative group Eagle Forum, told Cybercast News Service. "The American people killed the Kyl-Kennedy amnesty bill - twice. It took a unified, rather than splintered conservative movement to accomplish that goal."
"The only divisions this bill left in the conservative movement were between those who want to be a part of the governing elite and those who want to stand up for the middle class," Echard declared.
"President Bush's lack of border enforcement has led to the state of silent amnesty," she said. "It is within his power and that of the Department of Homeland Security to start consistently enforcing our immigration laws. The fault lies with them, not the American people or talk radio."
Ron De Jong, communications director for Grassfire.org, called the new campaign "misguided" and "short-sighted." The immigration bill "would have been a colossal failure to the nth degree," he said.
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