WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule that aims to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which defers the deportation of and allows eligible undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to access a renewable, two-year work permit. Members of ABIC’s leadership team and board of directors strongly call on Congress to provide a permanent solution and pathway to citizenship for our nation’s Dreamers.
“While we recognize DHS’s efforts to preserve and fortify the DACA program, we believe that this final rule is not enough to protect DACA recipients like me. This fall, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will determine DACA’s future, and DACA recipients and our employers are once again grappling with the uncertainty inherent in this temporary program. Only Congress can avert the devastation that this Court ruling and a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking DACA would undoubtedly cause. Now is the time to build on the successes of DACA and pass bipartisan legislation that provides a path to citizenship to DACA recipients and other Dreamers.” – Juan Carlos Cerda, DACA recipient & ABIC Deputy Campaign Director
“At a time of widespread labor shortages and rising food and gas prices, only Congress can find a bipartisan, common sense solution to the DACA program. If DACA is struck down by federal courts, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers will be forced out of the labor force, further fueling inflation, exacerbating supply chain challenges, and tipping the economy into recession. As a business leader, employer, and life-long Republican, I urge Congress to immediately pass legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for our nation’s 2 million Dreamers.” – David Barber, Former President & CEO, Barber Foods and Tyson Foods Business Development Specialist
DACA’s success has unleashed the economic potential of almost 800,000 people, allowing them to contribute to our economy, start families, buy homes, access healthcare, build businesses, and bring their talents to the industry sectors where they’re most needed. Three quarters of DACA participants in the workforce—343,000 people—are essential workers. Of those, 34,000 provide healthcare services and 11,000 work tirelessly keeping our hospital and clinic facilities up and running. As our nation faces a teacher shortage, 20,000 DACA recipients are working with kids in classrooms across the country. About 100,000 DACA recipients work in the nation’s food supply chain—roles that are more important than they have ever been in the wake of COVID’s disruptions.
But for too long, DACA participants have been vulnerable to government indecision that has kept their lives in legal limbo and filled them with anxiety and uncertainty. And DACA’s strict timeframes omit thousands of individuals who need it. More than 427,000 undocumented students are currently enrolled in postsecondary institutions, and of these, less than half (181,000) are DACA-elligible. Similarly every year, nearly 100,000 undocumented students graduated U.S. high schools, but only one quarter are DACA-eligible.
DACA has been a transformative program for both its recipients and the country, demonstrating why expanding opportunities for immigrants is good for all of America—but it’s not enough. Now is the time to build on the success of DACA and pass bipartisan legislation that provides a path to citizenship to all Dreamers, with or without DACA. The future of our country depends on it.
American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) is a bipartisan coalition of over 1,200+ CEOs, business owners, and trade associations across 17 mostly red and purple states. ABIC promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.