On Ninth DACA Anniversary, Leading Business & Immigration Groups Call For Reform
June 15, 2021
Dear Senator Cornyn, Senator Cruz, and the entire Texas congressional delegation:
Texas’ Dreamers are integral to our culture, society, and economy. It’s past due time that Congress take action to provide them with an opportunity to earn citizenship.
Despite court rulings that have allowed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to remain in effect, Dreamers remain in limbo. Judge Andrew Hanen in the Southern District of Texas could rule on the program at any minute. If he rules against DACA without a congressional solution in place, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers could have their lives in the U.S. ripped from beneath them, impacting not only Dreamers but all that rely on them.
It’s been nine years since the creation of DACA, which empowered young immigrants to earn an education, work, and contribute to the economy and the American workforce as a whole. Today, Texas is home to over 106,000 DACA recipients. Texas DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals contribute an estimated $454.4 million in annual state and local taxes, hold immense spending power, own companies, cars, and houses, and employ native-born Americans.
Beyond their contributions as economic drivers, nearly one-third of DACA recipients stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic to work in essential industries such as agriculture, health care, education, construction, and sanitation — including 30,600 here in Texas.
However, since the DACA program's inception, Congress has failed to come together to enact a bipartisan solution to provide permanent, legislative protections for Dreamers. While DACA provides recipients with temporary relief, the program’s future hangs in the balance. If the DACA program were terminated without a legislative solution in place, Texas’ economy would lose billions of dollars in annual GDP. Ultimately, the stakes couldn’t be higher to enact commonsense immigration reform.
Thankfully, there is opportunity at hand to move on commonsense immigration bills that would provide certainty for young immigrants so they can reach their full potential without fear of deportation. Legislation such as the bipartisan Dream Act in the Senate, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and the Dream and Promise Act, which passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year, would achieve such certainty by establishing a pathway for legal citizenship for Dreamers who live in a constant state of uncertainty. Imagine what could happen if Congress unleashes the potential of young immigrants who are eager to continue earning an education, paying taxes, and living in the only nation they know as home.
As we recognize the ninth anniversary of DACA, we call on Congress to immediately act to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers through bipartisan legislation such as the Dream Act. Our nation needs your leadership on this issue, and it is our hope that you will listen to the majority of voters who believe in protecting these young immigrants and act swiftly to enact reform.