Updated 1:45 PM ET.
A new superPAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform, is launching a television ad today in South Carolina supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and his leadership on immigration reform. The ad is part of a $60,000 ad buy organized to show support to Sen. Graham and defend him against attacks by the extremist anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA, which is part of the John Tanton network. As Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce President Bryan Derreberry says in the ad:
Today’s immigration laws are not written for today’s South Carolina businesses. South Carolina businesses will not be able to continue to grow without real immigration solutions. Senator Graham is right on target fighting for immigration reform today. He knows how important it is for South Carolina businesses — he knows that for South Carolina to compete in the 21st century we have to be able to update our immigration laws. A modern economy needs modern immigration laws and Senator Graham gets that.
The Republicans for Immigration Reform are joined by many other groups showing support for Sen. Graham and immigration reform. The Partnership for a New American Economy, an organization led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is organizing South Carolina business leaders who support Graham. The Evangelical Immigration Table also said today that it will air radio ads on 15 Christian radio stations across South Carolina advocating for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Jeremy Robbins, director of the Partnership for a New American Economy talked about the general need for more people to understand why we need immigration legislation:
Lindsey Graham is a great leader on this issue. The way the media and other folks often talk about this, they talk about the costs of immigration, not the benefits of it. We have to give voice about the arguments on how this will help the economy.
While the ads for Graham are designed to help protect him against primary challengers, Robbins dismissed the threat of Graham facing threats from the right. As he said:
Primaries draw more polarized voters, but what Americans care about is economy and jobs. [Immigration reform] is going to be an important thing in the primary and for the economy at large.
In any case, Sen. Graham might be hard to beat. According to the Huffington Post and a Winthrop University poll from February, he has a 71.6% approval rating among South Carolina Republicans and right-leaning independents.
Watch the ad from the Republicans for Immigration Reform below: