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Enforcement-Only Immigration Policies Are 'Inadequate,' Says Conservative Latino Leader

Libre Initiative
Daniel Garza is the executive director of the Libre Initiative.

New federal memos this week on immigration enforcement have stoked fears that millions of people could be deported. A UT-Dallas student who’s part of the DACA program spent the night in a Richardson jail. He’d been pulled over on a traffic warrant, but was detained when his immigration status was discovered.

Daniel Garza, who leads the conservative Libre Initiative, wasn’t a fan of Obama’s immigration policies, but he also says he’s not on board with what’s coming out of the Trump White House. 

Interview Highlights: Daniel Garza...

...On if President Donald Trump's immigration enforcement has gone too far: 

"It seems that a lot of it is a continuation of Obama policies when dealing with immigration. After all, he did deport over 3 million immigrants from the United States, and over 1,500 people lost their DACA designation for similar violations of the law that we're seeing today. Some of it is regular, but the tone has been a bit more aggressive, and we feel that a deportation approach woefully would be inadequate if the aim is to achieve a long-term solution to our nation's complex immigration problems. It would be enormously costly, too. It has to be comprehensive in its scope."

...On whether a Republican-led Congress will work on immigration reform:

"It depends on the leadership in Congress. For the longest time we've been saying that both sides have to move from their fixed positions and move towards consensus. All we see as the American people is both sides distancing themselves from any kind of consensus — where one is citizenship or nothing, or the other is enforcement only. We can come to the middle, one of the areas where we do agree is on the children. Even President Donald Trump has shown heart in this matter, that we can have a permanent bipartisan solution when it comes to the children, and then we can move from there."

...On working with the Koch brothers, who have critical of President Trump:

"We do accept a lot of generous contributions [from the Koch brothers]. Having said that, we are an organization that is motivated by principles, by values and that is the principle of economic freedom. The individual should be empowered to achieve their aims, their aspirations. And not just necessarily the aims of a politician or one party. If a Republican president or a Republican Congress is proposing laws that are going to restrict those freedoms? Then we're going to oppose it. If a Democrat president or Democrat Congress is going to advance principles or policies that are going to advance freedom? Then we're going to support that."   

Gus Contreras is a digital producer and reporter at KERA News. Gus produces the local All Things Considered segment and reports on a variety of topics from, sports to immigration. He was an intern and production assistant for All Things Considered in Washington D.C.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.
Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.