WASHINGTON, D.C. – Anti-Trump conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch are helping illegal immigrants in the U.S. obtain driver’s licenses, as well as preparing them for citizenship tests.
A fluff piece by TIME Magazine spotlights the Koch Brothers’ LIBRE Initiative organization for its work being done to help illegal immigrants while President Trump and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have successfully increased immigration enforcement.
“It is chaotic. People are very, very worried about their situation,” says Aguado. “One of the things that has been a positive thing through this stress that people have is that they’re more interested in becoming U.S. citizens. She now spends time volunteering to help her neighbors and strangers alike to figure out their immigration status, get papers in order and, in many cases, start the process of converting their legal status into citizenship.
The patrons who organize these consultation? The conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and their deep-pocketed pals who are continuing to spend millions to help promote free-market ideas in Latino communities across the country. Through the Koch network’s LIBRE Initiative, volunteers and advisers are helping immigrants study for drivers’ license exams so they have some form of government ID, others prepare for citizenship tests and still others earn a G.E.D. And it doesn’t matter if they are here legally or not.
Longtime Koch manager Daniel Garza touted the fact that the organization does not ask immigrants seeking help what their legal status is.
“We do not ask what anybody’s legal status. To us, that’s irrelevant. We want to help people drive. We let the politicians worry about whether someone is documented or not documented,” Garza told TIME.
In the Trump administration’s era of law and order, coupled with pro-American immigration enforcement, the Koch Brothers are still reaping the rewards of illegal immigration, as the TIME piece notes.
That’s one reason Koch-backed programs are experiencing a major boost in interest. In Miami, the citizenship study classes averaged 68 participants in December of last year, but last month that number rose to 210 people. Last summer, about 80 people joined the typical session in Orlando; since January, the number now averages 170. There are now 350 people on a wait list for an English-language class in Phoenix, and the citizenship efforts there have more than doubled between December and February, climbing from 30 to 80 participants at each session.
The Koch’s LIBRE Initiative is also continuing to push for amnesty for the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., with immigration hawks citing that there are most likely about 30 million illegal immigrants.
Despite coalitions like the ‘Gang of Eight,’ which included Democrats and establishment Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), to push amnesty, the efforts routinely are shot down as they prove to be unpopular with American voters.
Nonetheless, the Koch Brothers still see a route to work with the open borders lobby and get an amnesty through Congress.
And LIBRE is well aware of the political challenges ahead. Part of the billion-dollar policy and politics hub that the Kochs control, LIBRE is a rare voice on the right that pushes for a comprehensive immigration plan.
As the Koch network sees it, any immigration overhaul should have four major components: workers cannot be tied to a single employer in a way that leaves them little change for career advancement at rival companies, immigrants with legal status should be able to leave the country to visit their homelands, families should have the right to stay together and the system should not be overly punitive for immigrants in the country illegally. “Let’s not further disadvantage them. Let them get in the back of line,” Garza says.
Those positions run to the left of many conservatives. Mitt Romney famously called for immigrants to participate in “self-deportation” and Trump led his giant rallies in cheers of “build the wall.” But that’s precisely why Garza and his colleagues see a chance to repair the GOP’s image among Latinos, who tend to be conservative on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage even as they consistently vote for Democratic candidates.
Garza told TIME that he did not believe Trump’s construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall was a priority, although U.S. Border Patrol agents see the wall as an absolute necessity to ending illegal immigration, as Breitbart Texas reported.
The pro-amnesty, pro-free trade Koch Brothers have criticized Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda from its conception during the 2015-2016 presidential campaign.
As Breitbart News has reported, Trump has pushed back against the Koch Brothers, calling them “puppets” who are a part of the GOP establishment’s special interest groups.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.