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Conservative billionaire Koch brothers unlikely supporters of DREAMers

The Republican donors have considerable influence in the Beltway.
DACA
Activists hold a protest near the Manhattan apartment of billionaire and Republican financier David Koch on June 5, 2014 in New York City. The demonstrators were protesting against the campaign contributions by the billionaire Koch brothers. Photo: Getty

Conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, often referred to as the Koch brothers, are pushing Congress to pass a bill protecting DREAMers, undocumented young immigrants at risk of deportation since President Trump scrapped DACA.

The Libertarian brothers, who have incredible influence on the Hill, have clashed with Trump on other issues, like the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries. Their network told The Daily Beast it plans to focus on Latino issues.

“The Seminar Network is committed to working with and encouraging lawmakers to come together to pass a durable solution into law,” spokesman James Davis told The Daily Beast. “Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

The bulk of the network’s plan involves working with the Libre Initiative, which plans to work with lawmakers to secure permanent U.S. residency for DACA beneficiaries.

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Marilinda Garcia, the group’s national spokesperson and lobbyist for Americans for Prosperity, the Koch network’s issue advocacy arm.

“She (and we) have always made our views clear on immigration,” Brian Faughnan, a Libre spokesman, told The Daily Beast. “With the recent action on DACA/Dreamers, she’ll be encouraging lawmakers to act as expeditiously as possible on a bipartisan fix that allows Dreamers to remain here, achieve their potential, [and] help build a stronger nation.”

What is DACA?

The Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), protects children who came to the United States as children. Trump ended the program and gave Congress six months to find a legislative fix. In a New York Times interview on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked if he would put the DACA to a vote.

"I'm going to put a consensus plan on the floor, because I want members of Congress in both parties to talk to each other and find consensus on this issue,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the DACA issue was a symptom of failure of security at U.S. borders.

"It is only reasonable that while fixing this serious real problem, we also try to address the root cause of that problem. And that is border security," he said.

"That is where I think the consensus lies."

Who are the Koch brothers?

The Koch brothers are the sons of Fred C. Koch, who founded Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in the United States. The siblings own 84 percent of the company.

The Koch brothers donate to the Republican party and fund think tanks, charities and non-profits that don’t disclose their donations.

Salon’s Asher Elbein wrote:

“Nobody inspires more liberal anger than Charles and David Koch. As owners of the massive Koch Industries, a multinational energy and manufacturing conglomerate, the Koch brothers have spent a fortune bankrolling a profusion of right-wing causes. They have gained a well-deserved reputation as climate change deniers, polluters, union busters and all-round rapacious capitalists. Trace most conservative campaigns back far enough, and you’ll find them at the other end, pumping their libertarian vision into the body politic.”

David Koch ran as the Libertarian’s choice for vice president in 1980. David Koch has voiced support for gay marriage and U.S. military withdrawal from the Middle East.

David Koch, a creationist yet life-long lover of dinosaurs, gave $35 million of a $45 million project to renovate and expand the National Museum of Natural History’s paleontology wing.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 
 
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