“For too long, Dreamers have been used as a political football. It is time for Congress—Democrats and Republicans—to do their job and pass a sensible solution that will ensure that Dreamers can stay in the U.S. and contribute to our nation and economy.” — Craig Duchossois, Executive Chair of The Duchossois Group.
WASHINGTON – In the wake of U.S. District Judge Hanen’s ruling against DACA, today the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) and prominent Republican business leaders nationwide demand that Congress and President Biden immediately pass legislation to create a permanent pathway to citizenship for America’s more than 600,000 Dreamers—those who came undocumented to the U.S. as very young children and have known no other home.
“For too long, Dreamers have been used as a political football,” said Craig Duchossois, Executive Chair of The Duchossois Group. “It is time for Congress—Democrats and Republicans—to do their job and pass a sensible solution that will ensure that Dreamers can stay in the U.S. and contribute to our nation and economy.”
Duchossois was among 13 powerful Republicans who in June 2022 signed an open letter calling on Congress to pass a permanent citizenship pathway for Dreamers. Other signers were Woody Hunt (board chair, Hunt Companies and John Rowe (chair emeritus, Exelon Corporation), as well as retired Arizona Republican State Senator Bob Worsley, Stan Marek (CEO, Marek Construction), Brint Ryan (CEO, Ryan LLC), Nolan Perez, M.D., (CEO, Texas Digestive Specialists), Glenn Hamer (CEO and President, Texas Association of Business), Al Cardenas (former chairman, Florida Republican Party), Norman Braman (board chair, Braman Motors), Bill Kunkler (executive vice president, CC Industries) and David Barber (Barber Foods chair and CEO).
Said Rebecca Shi, Executive Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition: “We are talking about people who, in the decade since DACA began, have graduated from college here, joined the labor force and the military, started families, enriched their communities and contributed more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy. People should not have to live their lives and have their businesses held hostage to one court ruling after another. Once and for all, Congress needs to fix this mess so that Dreamers and their employers can finally exhale and commit long-term to aiding the American economy.”
“Our employers and DACA recipients like me are being yanked around by these court decisions,” said Juan Carlos Cerda, Texas State Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition and also a DACA recipient. “Only bipartisan legislation in Congress that provides a path to citizenship to DACA recipients and other Dreamers can resolve our fate in this country.”
Said Violeta Gomez-Uribe, Deputy Campaign Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition and also a DACA recipient: “I came here when I was 3 years old and have lived here for 35 years. I’ve had DACA since it started 10 years ago. Decisions like today’s create incredible instability for people like me and leave Dreamers in a permanent state of turmoil economically and emotionally. At one point I wanted to go to law school, but not knowing if I can even stay here to finish an academic program, makes this dream a non-starter. Dreamers like me need our federal government to stop using us as a political football and pass a Dream Act with a pathway to citizenship before it’s too late.”
Hispanic business and community leaders also said the latest court decision only further stressed the importance of congressional action. “Losing 5,000 DACA business owners who have shown resilience and who are committed to fueling Florida’s economy is unacceptable,” said Jorge H. Figueroa, President of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. “Here in Florida, there are 71 applicants for every 100 open jobs, which especially impacts our small business. Our congressional leaders must support those small businesses with bipartisan efforts to avoid jeopardizing Florida’s growth and to provide these Dreamers the opportunity to continue their American Dream.”
Pastor Maudia Meléndez, President of the Federation of Christian Churches of North Carolina, said: “We all know that the immigration system has been broken for more than 30 years. We have hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who belong to this nation and can’t see themselves living in another country. It would be wrong to deny them the ability to work and highly immoral to threaten them with deportation, and I implore our U.S. Senators to reach a bipartisan solution for them and for our country’s future.”
Currently, there are more than 600,000 DACA recipients, with the majority of them employed (the rest are in school, many earning degrees crucial to meeting the nation’s high-tech job needs in coming years). Over the next decade, those recipients will contribute an estimated $433 billion to the GDP, $60 billion in fiscal impact, and $12.3 billion in taxes to Social Security and Medicare if they can continue to work legally in the U.S.
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-eligible. Similarly, every year, nearly 100,000 undocumented students graduate from 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.