We are a nation indebted to the service and ideas of immigrants. In California, immigrants make up over 33 percent of our workforce, founded some of our most successful companies, and hold an instrumental role in our agriculture, manufacturing, and service industry. Ensuring immigrants can continue to funnel their ideas and hard-work into our economy remains one of The silicon valley organization’s top policy priorities, which is why we support the BRIDGE Act.
The ‘Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow our Economy Act’ (BRIDGE), came in response to President Trump’s promise to repeal an executive order issued in 2012 under the Obama administration, called DACA or ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.’ There are currently 750,000 people registered under DACA, which allows immigrants to acquire work visas, go to school, and retain temporary protection from deportation. To defend these individuals and allow them to continue to work, the BRIDGE Act would provide a congressionally approved extension of the DACA benefits for three more years.
If President Trump follows through on his promise to repeal DACA and reject the BRIDGE Act, the effects on our economy would be disastrous. Over 30 percent of DACA recipients live in California and it is estimated the impact of a repeal would cost the U.S. 283 billion dollars over a 10-year period. Studies have shown, the individuals who participated in DACA have received jobs, pay increases, opened bank accounts, and taken out loans because of their participation. This turns into a major impact on business as higher wages translates into increased consumer purchasing power and higher state revenue through taxes. Revenue Californians would be losing and making up for as immigrants and their families would be forced back into the shadows. In addition, American workers would lose their jobs, as around 6 percent of DACA recipients have started their own business because of work authorization, which is twice the American start-up rate. Highlighting how entrepreneurial and industrious these individuals can be when given a chance to succeed.
The SVO supported the DACA order in 2014 and we support the BRIDGE Act today. We understand the integral role immigrants have on our economy, our workforce, and our culture. The BRIDGE Act represents a common-sense alternative to DACA, which would allow Congress time to address our immigration systems needs in a way that adequately reflects our present economic and national security realities.