Andrea came to America from Peru when she was 11 years old. She now serves in the US Air Force. Javier came to America from Mexico when he was 5 years old. He now is the CEO of a technology investment fund. Saba came to America from Pakistan when she was 11 years old. She is now pursuing her PhD in biomedicine. All three of them, and 750,000 others, are at risk of losing everything if the DACA program is ended on September 5th. DACA, the deferred action for childhood arrivals, was an Obama administration initiative that allows immigrants who arrive as children to work and attend school without fear of deportation.
In exchange for the ability to come out of the shadows and work and attend school, these young people, called “dreamers,” submitted their personal information to the government in order to be vetted. However, now there is concern that that information could be used against them by the new administration.
Why is this happening? The state of Texas has threatened to sue the Justice Department if DACA is not repealed by September 5th. The driving force behind this threat is a set of immigration hardliners who are going against not only bipartisan consensus, but also the advice of dozens of business leaders and CEOs. If DACA is repealed, the impact on the American economy will be significant. The conservative Cato Institute indicated that America’s GDP would decrease by hundreds of billions over the next decade if the DACA workers lose their jobs. America would also lose thousands of highly skilled workers and educated young people, which will hurt our global competitiveness. In addition, deportation, business compliance, and legal battles will each have massive costs. It is little wonder that companies from Best Buy to Lyft have all raised their voices in support of DACA.
Yet far beyond any economic cost of ending DACA is the profound human cost. Wrenching nearly a million neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family members from their communities would be devastating. Most DACA recipients came to the United States as young children, some as babies, and many have known no other home but America. There is no word but “cruel” to describe removing individuals who came here as children and are now productive and integrated members of our American society.
The “dreamers” represent the best of our ideals. America is “the land of opportunity” and through their energy and effort this diverse group has sought to build a better life for themselves and their families. We should celebrate the stories of these young people and reflect on our heritage as a nation of immigrants.
Given the gravity of the situation, urgent action is needed to protect these exceptional individuals. Fortunately, Congress has taken up the bipartisan DREAM Act in order to prevent DACA recipients from being deported. Our friends at FWD.US, make it easy for you to reach out to your congressperson and say you stand with “dreamers.” In addition, FWD.US has information about the rallies and events going on near you to support “dreamers.” Please see the links at the end of this article for ways to get involved.
Call your senators: https://dreamers.fwd.us/call
Find events near you: https://www.fwd.us/