Immigration group defends Ellmers

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) is getting a boost on air from the conservative arm of the Mark Zuckerberg-backed group advocating an overhaul of the immigration system.

The radio and television ads from Americans for a Conservative Direction come after a contentious interview last week with Ellmers by radio host Laura Ingraham, who accused the second-term lawmaker of parroting liberal talking points in her defense of immigration reform. The initial ad buy is $150,000 and could be increased, according to a source familiar with the buy.

The pair of ads, which will go on air for 10 days starting Tuesday, refer to Ellmers as a “conservative fighter for North Carolina.” The ads open by saying that she backed a balanced budget amendment, favored cutting government spending and worked to protect key military bases in her district, then launch into a defense of her stance on immigration reform.

(Also on POLITICO: Renee Ellmers: Laura Ingraham’s ‘ignorant’ stand)

“On illegal immigration, Renee Ellmers is opposed to amnesty,” the 60-second radio ad says. “She’s working hard to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.”

The 30-second television ad says of Ellmers: “No amnesty. Period.”

Ingraham, a high-profile conservative critic of immigration reform, and Ellmers got into a heated exchange on a radio show last week, when Ingraham told the lawmaker that her immigration comments were “infuriating to my listeners” and Ellmers told the radio host that she held an “ignorant position” on the issue.

Advocates of reform have long viewed Ellmers as a gettable vote on immigration overhaul efforts in Congress. She penned an op-ed in the Fayetteville Observer outlining her position, which includes an “earned legal status” for undocumented immigrants that could be obtained by paying fines, admitting to breaking the law and having their identities identified.

Those stances have earned her a challenger, Frank Roche, in North Carolina’s May 6 primary.

Americans for a Conservative Direction is a subsidiary of, the group backed by Facebook founder Zuckerberg that has been pushing immigration reform efforts on Capitol Hill. The conservative affiliate has launched ads backing GOP lawmakers such as Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Mike Coffman of Colorado, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida who favor some kind of immigration reform. also has an affiliate focused on progressives and independents, called the Council for American Job Growth, that released an ad earlier this month that blasted House Republicans for dragging their feet on immigration reform.

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Immigration group defends Ellmers
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