A national Hispanic conservative group is providing political support for Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo after he bucked GOP leadership last week in an attempt to force a vote on immigration legislation.
The LIBRE Initiative, a group backed by the Koch brothers, is releasing mailers in Curbelo's Miami-to-Key West congressional district this week thanking the incumbent facing a tough reelection effort for trying to get an immigration bill passed in the House of Representatives.
Curbelo initiated a petition last week that would allow the House of Representatives to vote rapid fire on four immigration bills while bypassing House Republican leaders. The bill that gets the most support beyond a simple majority passes the House of Representatives and heads to the Senate for consideration.
Curbelo's petition currently has the support of 20 Republicans, and it needs the support of about a half dozen more along with all Democrats to be successful. The Miami Republican initiated his effort after leadership stalled on putting a slew of immigration bills on the floor for consideration. About 690,000 DACA recipients are waiting for the courts to finalize their legal status after President Donald Trump's move to end an Obama-era program that protected them from deportation stalled earlier this year.
"I don't know that there's ever been a more fair, open and inclusive process than the one were proposing, and those who fear it is probably because they believe their own ideas are weak and they don't want to see what the scoreboard's going to say about that," Curbelo said.
The LIBRE Initiative's effort in Curbelo's district is part of a seven-figure campaign by the group, which includes a national television ad and advocacy on Capitol Hill and mailers to other lawmakers from both parties outside Florida. The group is also investing in voter education and outreach efforts in Central Florida, where thousands of Puerto Ricans have moved since Hurricane Maria in October of last year, ahead of the 2018 election.
"Our nation deserves leaders that are willing to take on the big issues facing our communities," LIBRE president Daniel Garza said in a statement. "This is why we’re highlighting the work of Congressman Carlos Curbelo, so Latinos and others understand that he is working toward a permanent, bipartisan, solution for Dreamers and improvements to border security. Sitting on the sidelines while Dreamers and our communities face growing uncertainty is not an option."
Curbelo faces a likely challenge from Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in November, provided both win their primaries against long-shot opposition.