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North Carolina Latino Leaders Urge Local Elected Officials, President Biden to Extend Work Permits to Long-Term Undocumented North Carolinians

By May 15, 2024May 17th, 2024No Comments


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. Today, North Carolina elected officials, business and community leaders, including the bipartisan American Business Immigration Coalition, held a press conference to urge President Joe Biden to extend work permits to long-term immigrants. As sources tell The Wall Street Journal, President Biden is considering administrative action to expand access to work permits for the undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens, speakers at today’s event showcased how this policy would protect North Carolina families and ensure businesses have access to a strong and stable workforce. 

Here’s what participants had to say about extending work permits:

Fayetteville Council Member Mario Benavente:

“North Carolina’s Latino community is the fastest growing in the state, a 40 percent increase from the last census. The Hispanic population now makes up 12 percent of North Carolina, making up a critical part of the state’s labor force. I’m here to say that immigrants are vital members of our families, communities and workplaces. They deserve respect and the dignity of a work permit. The Biden administration must act, now. Our simple solution is a ‘win-win’ for American families, businesses and the economy. President Biden can grant work permits to spouses of U.S. citizens, removing the fear of deportation from their families. This will add workers to our economy, stabilize our workforce and increase the tax base.”

Juvencio Rocha Peralta, Executive Director, Association of Mexicans in North Carolina, Inc (AMEXCAN):

“We are calling on President Biden to take decisive action to expand work permits and provide legal status to long-term undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families who have been living, working and contributing to our communities for years. This policy change is not only a matter of justice and humanity but also economic necessity.”

Yareli Lozano, North Carolina Dreamer ineligible for DACA:

“I want to become a dental hygienist but due to me being a Dreamer, I won’t be able to practice or get licensed in the state of North Carolina. I can go through the whole program, but I’ll have to move to another state. President Biden can act now and help Dreamers like me have the opportunity to pursue our dreams.”

Yahel Flores, Moderator and Carolinas State Director, American Business Immigration Coalition:

“As a DACA recipient and former business owner, my story reflects how a simple ‘win-win’ solution can be a net positive. Today, Latino elected officials, community leaders and impacted individuals united in urging President Biden to exercise his power to grant work permits to long-term immigrants, Dreamers without DACA and spouses of U.S. citizens and others who have been paying taxes and contributing to our economy for decades. We all want the same things—to work hard, take care of our families and contribute to this country. Immigrants are vital members of our families, communities and workplaces. They deserve respect and the dignity of a work permit.”


According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we have 9.5 million job openings in the U.S., but only 6.5 million unemployed workers. Even if every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have nearly 2.4 million vacancies. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office attributes a $7 trillion increase to the national GDP to immigration. While mixed-status families already contribute billions in federal, state and local taxes, a FWD.US estimate finds that permitting undocumented spouses to work legally would increase their tax contributions by $5 billion.


Here are some key facts about how immigrants make vital contributions to North Carolina’s economy and communities:



In addition to North Carolina, the U.S. economy depends upon a foreign-born labor force to alleviate national labor shortages, reduce inflation and grow by $7 trillion more over the next decade. Immigrants in the U.S. have a combined household income of $2.1 trillion and contribute $382.9 billion to federal taxes and $196.3 billion in state and local taxes, leaving them with $1.6 trillion in spending power.

Expanding work permits for long-term contributors is overwhelmingly popular among Americans generally. Nineteen U.S. Senators; 80+ members of Congress, 300+ employers, CEOs, and associations have also endorsed work permits for long-term immigrants, along with labor organizations like SEIU, UNITE HERE, the Teamsters and United Auto Workers (UAW). 


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.