Originally published by Politico
Frustrated with inaction over immigration reform, the Kochs brothers’ political network is launching a seven-figure ad campaign aimed at restarting frozen bipartisan talks to help protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.
On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” the Libre Initiative and Freedom Partners will air a national broadcast advertisement, calling on congressional leaders to come up with a permanent fix for DREAMers after President Donald Trump announced plans to rescind the Obama-era program last year. The ad splices footage of past presidents, from Bill Clinton, to George W. Bush, to Barack Obama, making pro-immigrant remarks. And it urges GOP and Democratic leaders to revive negotiations to provide funding for Trump‘s proposed border wall in return for a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants.
“There’s a bipartisan path forward on immigration that offers a permanent solution for our DREAMers and a stronger border. What are we waiting for? Certainty for DREAMers and security for everyone,” the ad says, according to a draft shared with POLITICO.
In addition to broadcast and cable buys, the two groups will also run targeted digital ads trying to spur House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to a compromise. Officials declined to break down the spending but said it would total more than $1 million.
“Congress and the White House have spent a lot of time talking about DACA, but today, our elected officials have yet to approve a permanent legislative solution,” said Daniel Garza, president of the Libre Initiative.
Democrats are not enthused with the campaign given the Koch network‘s preference for conservative candidates.
“Wake me up when they stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect Republicans that vote against the Dreamers,” said Matt House, a spokesman for Schumer.
The campaign shows the increasing annoyance with inaction on Capitol Hill among the political network backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
Last month, as Congress raced to clinch a $1.3 trillion spending deal, Trump sought $25 billion in border wall money for temporary protections for DREAMers. Democrats countered by demanding a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, and the talks imploded. Now Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is caught up in the courts, and there is no apparent movement on Capitol Hill or in the White House.
The Koch network is mounting a sustained campaign to make sure that changes.
“The recent proposal that provides permanency for Dreamers and $25 billion in border security is one that President Trump and Congress should take,” said James Davis, executive vice president of Freedom Partners.