As demonstrators protested President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport this weekend, NBC 5 confirmed that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been in Palm Springs, California, for a three-day donor summit with Koch Industries.
The first-term Republican sees the event as a policy summit, a spokesperson said, calling it a chance to discuss criminal justice reform and the advancements they believe they've made in Illinois.
However, the seminar is also considered a chance for 2018 Republican candidates to meet potential donors. Led by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the Koch network plans to spend up to $400 million on policy and political campaigns during the midterm cycle, according to several reports including from the Washington Post.
This weekend marks the largest gathering of potential donors for Koch Industries, with more than 500 people in attendance.
Only three governors joined the Palm Springs summit: Rauner, Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Arizona’s Doug Ducey, along with five Republican U.S. senators.
Rauner's team added that he was also in southern California to recruit tech firms to Illinois, however, the trip was not part of his public schedule.
On Sunday evening, Rauner issued a statement on the executive order that halts refugee resettlement and imposes a travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.
"Governor Rauner has always said we need to balance our tradition as a nation welcoming of immigrants and refugees with legitimate national security concerns to keep Americans safe from terrorism," a spokesperson told NBC 5 via email.
"The governor has been supportive of tightening the vetting process for Syrian refugees because of ISIS attempts to infiltrate refugee flows -- but he's opposed to immigration bans that target any specific religion," the statement continued.
"Serious concerns about the executive order have been raised. We urge swift resolution of these concerns through the courts to ensure we are a nation that is both secure and welcoming of immigrants and refugees."
This is not the first time the governor has directly addressed the resettlement of refugees. In Nov. 2015, Rauner announced that Illinois would join several other states in temporarily refusing to accept Syrian refugees following the attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.