NumbersUSA ad pits black Americans against immigrants

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The anti-immigration group NumbersUSA was anything but subtle when it launched an ad last night which some say pits black Americans against immigrant workers.

The ad aired last night before the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

“I’m tired of the stereotype that black Americans don’t want to work,” an African-American man says at the beginning of the ad. “I’ve worked hard my whole life but I got laid off and I’ve got mouths to feed. I need a job.”

“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,” he continues. “Do our leaders really believe that black Americans don’t want to work? Let’s slow down mass immigration and save jobs for Americans — all Americans.”

NumbersUSA wants to see the rate of legal immigration to the United States decrease. On the about page of its website, the organization lists construction jobs and hospitality jobs as examples of work that used to have good wages but are now at “near-poverty levels.”

“Importing hundreds of thousands of foreign workers into those occupations is a profound policy of injustice against the Americans struggling in them already,” the site reads.

Think Progress reacts to the ad’s message in a post saying that immigration boosts the economy:

Persistently high unemployment rates for African-Americans is a systemic problem that cannot be addressed simply by reducing the number of immigrants … The lies and distortions do not change the fact that immigration is good for the U.S. economy, and it is contemptible to try to pit Americans against each other and against immigrants to stop it.

The site suggests lawmakers work to increase job creation and training and to stop job discrimination instead.

Many Twitter users have shown support for the television ad, calling immigration “excessive,” but a few users disagreed.

“How dare you use African-American props to promote your hatred & bigotry. Fact is you don’t give a d*mn about African Americans,” @sherylkaye tweeted at the NumbersUSA page.

“Putting blacks vs. immigrants is just wrong!” another user, @uppitynegress10, tweeted.

The organization says it takes a stand against “immigrant bashing” on its website.

“Nothing about this website should be construed as advocating hostile actions or feelings toward immigrant Americans … Unfortunately, to write about problems of immigration is to risk seeming to attack immigrants themselves.”

This is not the first time NumbersUSA has aired anti-immigration ads on TV. The organization aired an ad during CNN’s coverage of the Republican presidential candidate debate last October.

Follow Ugonna on Twitter at @ugonnaokpalaoka.