Originally published by The Washigton Post
A group backed by the influential Koch network on Monday launched a digital ad pushing for permanent relief for undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children, as the group increases pressure on Congress to protect “dreamers.”
The ad, titled “We Are Patriots,” will run on Facebook, Twitter and Google. It highlights “dreamers” as Americans and patriots and incorporates messages of economic and family values as an appeal to conservative audiences.
This is the first ad campaign specifically on the fate of dreamers by the LIBRE Initiative, one of a constellation of groups funded through the Koch network, and its first major immigration ad push since the Gang of 8 immigration negotiations in 2013.
“This situation has an expiration date. We can’t afford to kick the can down the road,” Daniel Garza, president of the LIBRE Initiative, said in an interview. “We need to stir it up and make sure they [lawmakers] come up with something permanent.”
Garza said the group wants to put community pressure on immigration hard-liners to come around on dreamers while supporting lawmakers who are working to resolve the issue. Garza declined to put a dollar amount to the ad buy beyond describing it as a “six-figure campaign,” saying the group is prepared to spend money as necessary to reach a policy solution for dreamers.
“This is policy that allows DACA dreamers to achieve their dreams but also strengthens America,” Garza said. “We are all in on getting a reform that is going to allow that to happen.”
The Koch network, led by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, has praised the immigration framework President Trump rolled out last month, which supports granting permanent legal status to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program enrollees and increasing border security.
But Trump’s proposal also would limit family-based legal immigration, or “chain migration.” The Koch network has said it cannot support “arbitrary” caps on legal immigration.
Garza said the group is working on areas of common ground with the Trump administration on dreamers and border security and is pushing for lawmakers to act on both, but it will hold its line on legal immigration.
“We just need to know there’s going to be no reduction to legal immigration,” he said.