Exclusive: Koch groups launch ad campaign to promote immigration reform
Two groups within mega-donor Charles Koch’s political network on Thursday launched a campaign to push lawmakers toward a broad immigration reform bill.
The groups, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the Libre Initiative, will spend seven figures on digital ads, mailers and local events to call on senators to move forward with immigration legislation paired with border security measures.
The Koch groups are part of a broader effort of immigration supporters across the political spectrum buoyed by recent polls showing that around three quarters of Americans support allowing many undocumented immigrants to regularize their status.
And a recent poll by Libre found that 93 percent of respondents think Congress should act on immigration and the border.
“Politicians in Washington are failing their constituents. Practical immigration fixes would give us a stronger economy, a stronger border, and a stronger America. An overwhelming number of Americans agree, but Congress cares more about fighting than solving problems,” said Daniel Garza, president of the Libre Initiative.
“Our call is simple: start by pairing reforms that have broad support and let’s start reforming our outdated immigration systems,” he added.
Libre and AFP on Wednesday joined in a letter with a coalition of faith, advocacy, business and education leaders, calling on leaders in both houses of Congress to move on immigration reform.
“At no other point in recent history has the need for immigration reform been greater than it is today. Simply put, the system is broken,” reads the letter, signed collectively by a group called Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus.
The Koch groups’ campaign comes in the wake of President Biden’s State of the Union address, where he laid out an immigration vision that combines permanent legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants, temporary status holders and Dreamers with border security investments.
Among many immigration advocates, the idea of combining border security and immigration reform had fallen out of favor, as attempts at comprehensive immigration reform had crumbled and the Trump administration’s laser focus on enforcement and security showcased the dysfunctions of the existing immigration system.
But immigration-centric legislation has stalled in Congress, even as an assortment of bills has passed the House with some bipartisan support.
And a slew of recent polls has consistently shown that large majorities want action on the issue, although Republicans tend to prioritize border security measures and Democrats tend to focus on the immigration system itself.
“Rather than continuing to use immigration as a wedge issue, we urge lawmakers to roll up their sleeves and drive solutions that both tackle these issues and have broad public support. But Congress must do the work to get this done,” said Jorge Lima, senior vice president for policy at AFP.
“That is why we are devoting resources and marshaling our activists across the nation to contact their elected officials, share their support and urgency, and drive decisive action on these solutions without delay,” added Lima.
This story was updated at 9:17 a.m.
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