Ad invokes Reagan to attack Republicans' hard line on immigration

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Days before a Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, an immigration advocacy group invoked the former president to attack the tough immigration rhetoric of certain candidates, including front-runner Donald Trump.

A television ad launched on Sunday by the National Immigration Forum Action Fund contrasts Reagan's call for the United States to welcome all people with the stances of Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who have proposed an end to birthright citizenship and urged other crackdowns.

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Ad invokes Reagan to attack Republicans' hard line on immigration
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. A wave of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike rose Thursday after GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump insulted the physical appearance of his party's only female White House contender. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Spet. 7, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive waves as she and supporters march in the Labor Day parade in Milford, N.H. Eleven Republican presidential candidates have qualified for next week’s primetime debate. CNN announced the slate Thursday night. It’s the largest group to share a presidential debate stage in modern political history. The candidates scheduled to face off Wednesday at the Reagan Presidential Library include Fiorina. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, details his tax reform plan in a speech at Morris & Associates in Garner, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26: GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., holds a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Republican Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson answers questions at a news conference after speaking to the Commonwealth Club public affairs forum Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee addressed the crowd as they wait for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to be released from the Carter County Detention Center, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Grayson, Ky. Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was released Tuesday after five days behind bars. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens to a question as he addresses a gathering at the Chabad House at Rutgers University Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in New Brunswick, N.J. Christie urged Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and the state's congressional delegation to oppose the Iran deal, which aims to dismantle Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions worth billions of dollars. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, speaks during a campaign stop at New England College Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Henniker, N.H. The nation's earliest presidential primary in new Hampshire is less then six months away. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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The ad highlights Trump's demand for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and comments that Mexican immigrants were "bringing crime" and are "rapists."

It shows a clip from Reagan's 1989 farewell address from the White House in which he references the journey to the United States of John Winthrop, an English Puritan who imagined America as a "city upon a hill."

Reagan described his idea of the "shining city" as one that was "teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace."

"If there had to be city walls," he added, "the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here."

Trump, Walker and Cruz will join other candidates including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former tech executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for a debate on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Carson said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Trump's plan for deporting undocumented workers is logistically unfeasible, but said he would "turn off the spigot that dispenses the goodies" to discourage the immigrants from coming to the United States. For undocumented immigrants already here, he said he would give them a six-month period to register.

The Action Fund's ad will screen nationally all week, peaking during the debate on CNN. The Fund is affiliated with the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigration group which counts Bush's son, Jeb Bush Jr, as one of its directors.

The two entities share the same management and some resources but have different boards and separate budgets, according to a spokeswoman, Cathleen Farrell.

Jeb Bush, the candidate, has said Republicans should approach immigration as an opportunity to spur economic growth.


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