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Libre Initiative brings Florida Dreamers to Congress

The group hopes to demonstrate broad support for DACA, border security.

More than 50 Dreamers, including eight from Florida, will meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Monday.

The activists will lobby for a federal government funding deal that offers permanent protections to Dreamers while allotting some dollars for a border wall.

Wadi Gaitan, press secretary for The Libre Initiative, said Dreamers from 10 different states will visit with lawmakers of both parties. The action comes days before the Friday deadline for a budget deal.

“Lawmakers need to figure how not to shut down the government and come to some kind of solution,” he said.

Since President Donald Trump during the last shutdown signaled support for an extension of protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), groups behind the visits today hope something can be worked out that at least helps Dreamers.


The term Dreamers refers to beneficiaries of the DACA executive order issued by President Barack Obama after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors failed to pass.

The Koch network-backed Libre Initiative is connected to other center-right groups like Americans for Prosperity, also Koch network-backed and involved with today’s visits to Capitol Hill.

But it also is working with groups like FWD.US, the National Immigration Forum and the American Business Immigration Coalition.

“We want to show broad support for this idea,” Gaitan said, “for Dreamers and for border security.”

Gaitan said five of the Florida Dreamers in Washington, D.C. previously volunteered or participated in The Libre Initiative’s events such as English and other education classes.

The main goal in the visit remains on finding permanent legal protections for Dreamers. President Trump’s prior deal offer was not accepted by Democrats and it only offered a three-year extension for DACA immigrants.

Gaitan said offering long-term solutions for Dreamers could win more Democratic support for barriers on the U.S. southern border.

Among Florida’s political leaders, DACA has received significant bipartisan support in the past.

When Trump announced in 2017 he planned to rescind DACA protections, Rubio said he always wanted protections for Dreamers to come through legislation, not an executive order, but that he wanted a solution to protect “those brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own.”

“It is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign,” Rubio said at the time. “We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won’t sign.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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