From the official letter penned by the Regional Economic Association Leaders or R.E.A.L. Coalition:
On behalf of the Regional Economic Association Leaders (R.E.A.L.) Coalition, an association of California’s most influential business and economic development entities, representing 20 member organizations and up to 15,000 employers who collectively provide up to 3.9 million California jobs, we write to support the 2012 memorandum program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). We urge Congress to pass a Dream Act.
On September 5th, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order to rescind the memorandum establishing the DACA program. On behalf of the REAL Coalition, we write to urge your support of “Dreamer legislation” that would allow a select group of immigrants who grew up in the U.S. the ability to continue contributing to our great nation. Legislation for DACA is critical for our economy. According to recent studies, the rescindment of the DACA will result in the shrinking of our labor force by 740,000 workers and reduce real gross domestic product (GDP) by $72 billion.
Specifically, the REAL Coalition would support Dreamer legislation that would grant these young people conditional, permanent resident status for eight years and cancel removal proceedings if they:
• Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children 17 years old or younger;
• Have been continuously in the U.S. for four years preceding the date of enactment of the bill;
• Graduate from high school, obtain a GED certificate or diploma, or are enrolled in secondary school or in an education program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma or in passing a GED or equivalent exam;
• Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
• Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
• Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
Legislation language should include immediate permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship.
Of the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, an overwhelming number live in California (nearly 230,000). The vast majority are employed, and almost half of them are currently in school. Absent a solution, California will experience the biggest economic set back of any state in the nation, with an estimated loss of $11.6 billion in GDP.
We have already invested in these young people by educating them in our schools, and they are now a vital part of our workforce, contributing to our economic growth and our society--as teachers, engineers, nurses and small business owners. It makes no sense to squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation.
The business community urges you to pass a Dream Act because we know these young people would contribute to our state and nation if we continued to allow them to contribute to America.