Anti-immigration group NumbersUSA announced on Tuesday that it will spend at least $100,000 on advertising before the South Carolina Republican primary on Jan. 21 in an effort to tie high unemployment levels to legal immigration.
"Jobs, jobs, jobs," a voice-over says in the ad. "Everybody talks about creating jobs, but who will get the jobs? Not one candidate is talking about why the government is ready to bring in another 1 million legal immigrants this year to take American jobs."
"Legal doesn't make it right when there are millions of jobless Americans," it continues. "Ask the candidates who should get new American jobs, unemployed Americans or will they bring in another million immigrants?"
NumbersUSA is one of three organizations started by anti-immigration activist John Tanton, and they are all focused on decreasing legal and undocumented immigration. Another of the groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
South Carolina is home to a law based on Arizona's SB 1070, which gave greater power to police to enforce immigration. The Justice Department sued the state in October to block the law from going into effect on Jan. 1. A judge blocked key provisions of the law on Dec. 22.
Some Republican candidates are using the law to appeal to immigration hardliners in the state. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised the South Carolina law in November, after he faced criticism for saying he would allow some undocumented immigrants to gain legal status.
"Clearly the Obama administration has been comfortable allowing foreign governments to enter a lawsuit against an American state," he said at a town hall meeting in Charleston, S.C. "So here's a simple way to think of it: President Obama sided with Mexico, I would side with South Carolina."
NumbersUSA has become something of a bellwether for Republican presidential candidates, who cite the organization's immigration report card to prove they oppose unauthorized immigration. The organization scores candidates based on opposition to "amnesty," desire to "secure the borders" and plans to "reduce overall immigration," among other factors. All candidates, including President Barack Obama, have a "bad" rating for reducing immigration in general.
The group also ran TV and radio ads in Iowa and is considering similar ad buys in future primary states. In Iowa, NumbersUSA spent about $100,000 during the lead-up to the caucuses, and ran national TV ads during some Republican debates.
The South Carolina ad-buy could go as high as $150,000, depending on how much airtime is available.