Republican supporters of immigration reform are beginning to put their money where their mouth is by launching a television ad campaign designed to convince conservatives to get behind the Senate's immigration overhaul.
The center-right super PAC American Action Network will run an ad this week on Fox News that calls on the House of Representatives to back the so-called "border surge" contained in the Senate bill. The plan would dramatically increase resources devoted to securing the southern border. The group said in a statement it is spending "$100,000 plus" to air the ad.
The 30-second spot stresses the provisions of the "surge," calling it "the toughest border security plan ever passed by Congress."
"Seven hundred miles of new fencing. Twenty thousand new border patrol agents. Radar. Night vision. Even drones," the narrator says during the ad. "And supported by conservative leaders like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan."
The ad comes as the Republican-controlled House is contemplating how to move forward on immigration reform. So far, outside interest groups haven't thrown their full weight into the immigration debate. But those groups may become more aggressive if House Republicans continue to spurn the legislation.
GOP leaders have said that the Senate bill is a non-starter and have said they want to pass their own, more conservative, legislation. On Wednesday, House Republicans will convene a "special conference" where members will discuss alternatives.
That's why the ad plays up the conservative credentials of the Senate bill. "Call Congress … Tell them to pass conservative immigration reform," the narrator says.
The border language was key in getting fence-sitting Republican senators to eventually support the bill. But GOP senators who voted against it said the border language doesn't go far enough in ensuring security goals are met.
The $38 billion border buildup also has some Democrats worried that the U.S.-Mexico border could become militarized. And notably, the ad doesn't mention that the Senate bill that contains the "border surge" also includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a must have for President Obama, Democrats and immigrant-rights advocates.
The American Action Network, which is backed by GOP impresario Fred Malek, has ran four ads in support of immigration reform legislation this year, spending over $750,000, according to the group. Last week it launched an ad praising Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for helping pass the Senate's immigration bill, that included the extra border security provisions.