The Koch Brothers and the Building of a Grassroots Coalition to Advance Open Borders

There is a lot of ignorance on the left about what drives the pro-immigration agenda. I have had many discussions lately with left-wing folks and supporters of the Democratic Party (whose lines they robotically take up) who are startled when I tell them that a major proponent of pro-immigration is a coalition of right-wing anti-labor individuals and groups. “But right-wingers are anti-immigration,” they object. “They’re fascists.” No, they’re not. Many conservative Republicans are reluctant to openly join pro-immigration Republicans in pushing for open borders because they depend on political support from the rank-and-file workers, workers who have been abandoned by the Democrats and labor unions.

Blue collar workers increasingly make up much of the popular base of the Republican Party because they don’t want to see their standards of living decline any more than they have and they recognize that immigration is one of the causes of why they struggle to make ends meet. This is why Trump waltzed through the primaries and won the election in blue collar states: his stance on immigration appeals to blue collar workers, the same blue collar workers Democrats used to court (and still claim to represent). But Democrats no longer worry about the working class because they have major backing from globalists and enjoy the support of a coalition of identity groups that neoliberal cultural managers have knitted together over the years. Democrats and their supporters now claim to represent the “middle class” while disparaging workers in heartland as “white,” “privileged,” “racist,” “xenophobic,” and “deplorable.” 

Two right-wing individuals pushing hard for immigration are the powerful billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Their LIBRE initiative, which enjoys the backing of conservative mega-donors who stand to profit from the massive transfer of value that comes with immigration, strives to help immigrants (legal and illegal) come and live in America, learn English, and pass their drivers’ license tests. Learning English and being able to drive is critical for getting immigrants into the workforce where they can be pitted against native-born labor. This is a strategy to suppress wages and disrupt political organizing. It’s class warfare Koch brothers style. As is expected, the Koch bothers are supportive of the Democrat’s pro-immigration agenda.

Charles and David Koch’s LIBRE initiative for open borders

A related Koch strategy is pushing public school vouchers as a strategy to defund the public schools working class kids go to. They’re particularly keen on organizing Hispanics to push for school choice. The goal is clear: the undermining of US national culture, a culture that has been supportive of public education and labor unions. Like today’s Democrats, the Koch brothers are globalists, aggressively pushing for open borders and open trade, pitting native-born workers in the US against cheap labor around the world. They dream of a completely open world in which workers in developed countries have to compete with workers in developing counties. For example, LIBRE refused to back House Republican’s compromise immigration legislation because it lowered immigration.

The Koch brothers have dispatched Daniel Garza, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration and son of a migrant farmworkers, to lobby Congress for open borders legislation. Garza complains that immigration restrictions are unacceptable because they “hinder the ability to address market forces and the private sector to hire who they need to hire.” Yes, they are that explicit about their goals. Garza, like the other Republicans pushing for immigration, are opposed to efforts by Donald Trump to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border. Why? Because it reduces surplus population which in turn pushes wages higher.

There is a Time magazine article on this—”Koch Network Mounts Grassroots Effort to Support Immigration”— that is sweet on Koch’s efforts. There is nothing in the Time article about how immigration hurts native-born workers in America. Time’s parent company, Time Inc., was acquired by Meredith Corp. in a deal partially financed by Koch Equity Development, a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc. However, given the favorable coverage of this across the corporate media, it appears that one does not need to be indebted to the Koch brothers to push for open borders.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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