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McCarthy gets help on immigration

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is getting defended by a center-right group for his views on immigration reform. 

The $65,000 cable advertising campaign in McCarthy's district is funded by the American Action Network. It comes in response to pressure from the left for him to back comprehensive immigration reform.

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The American Action Network touts McCarthy's support for immigration legislation that would secure the border first. 

"Why are special interests attacking Kevin McCarthy? Because Kevin fights for us, not them," the ad says. "On immigration, Kevin's got the conservative approach we need, that starts with securing the border first."

Immigration reform is a sensitive issue for McCarthy, whose district is about 35 percent Hispanic.

The House majority whip has been the target of rallies by unions and other pro-immigration forces during the August congressional recess who hope to pressure him into supporting broad immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. 

This is the first time AAN has actively stepped in to counter pressure from the left, rather than working independently to encourage Republicans to support immigration reform. 

It has previously spent more than $1 million on ads aimed at convincing Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform that included strong border security measures.

The group's board includes former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), former Reps. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.) and Jim Nussle, a former Iowa congressman who served as a budget director for President George W. Bush.