To push back on it, he’s revving up a grassroots effort to lobby Congress, backed by the billion brothers Charles and David Koch.
As head of the conservative mega-donors’ LIBRE Initiative aimed at Hispanics, Garza will be organizing five public rallies in the next week aimed at shaking loose a congressional stalemate on immigration, highlighting yet another looming deadline for courts to decide how to handle children who came to the country illegally.
“It’s been exhausting. It’s been frustrating. But there’s too much at stake just to give up and walk away. There are lives that are impacted by this. Too many communities, churches, American employers,” he tells TIME. “Of course, primarily, it’s these children who are American in every sense of the word except that they don’t have legalization.”
Garza and a staff of more than 60 aides have worked to build credibility in local Hispanic communities by conducting workshops several times a week to help immigrants — here legally and those here not — to pass their drivers’ license tests. Other courses help immigrants earn their G.E.D., learn English or even citizenship because, as Garza tells it, “you can talk about economic freedom and building a free society but in the marketplace, but millions of Latinos in this case are shut out of the marketplace because they don’t have a drivers license, or speak the language or have a diploma.”