Local and state business leaders cite billions in tax contributions and economic growth to call for a solution to keep Dreamers in the United States.
San Jose, Calif. — Today, The Silicon Valley Organization joined over 50 chambers of commerce from 23 states to sign an open letter to Congressional leadership calling for bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers. The undersigned business leaders recognize the important role Dreamers play in keeping our workforce young and competitive, contributing to the tax base, and creating jobs for all Americans.
“The thousands of Dreamers here in California have grown up in this country and are major contributors to our economic success,” said Matt Mahood, The Silicon Valley Organization’s President & CEO. “Congress must act to allow these hardworking young people to remain in our communities.
“Dreamers shouldn’t have to pay the price for the gridlock in Washington,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “It’s time for Congress to do what makes business sense, end the legal limbo, and ensure Dreamers can pursue their careers right here in America.”
Given the uncertainty surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, chambers are calling on Congress to pass a permanent solution now. A recent poll by New American Economy (NAE) and Target Point Consulting found that there is bipartisan support for protecting Dreamers, including among majorities of conservatives and President Trump’s base voters.
According to research by New American Economy (NAE), Dreamers make significant contributions to the California economy. There are 316,205 DACA-eligible individuals in our state who earn $4.9 million in total income annually and contribute more than $748 million in total taxes annually, $380 million of which goes to state and local tax revenue.
Below is the full text of the open letter:
April 12, 2018
Dear Speaker Paul Ryan, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Leader Mitch McConnell, and Leader Charles E. Schumer,
As business leaders representing our nation’s most important industries and regional economies, we are committed to promoting economic growth and job creation for all Americans. From manufacturing to agriculture, and from Main Street to Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. economy relies on our diverse, talented workforce to drive the country forward. That is why we are calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to create permanent protections for Dreamers. These protections would allow young immigrants in our communities and across the country to continue to pursue their education, contribute to our labor force and tax base, and start new businesses that create jobs.
Nationwide, there are 1.3 million Dreamers—immigrants brought to the U.S. as children—who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that the Trump administration terminated last September. The vast majority of them have graduated high school, and more than 90 percent speak English well or better. According to New American Economy, they collectively earn $19.9 billion in total income each year, and contribute more than $3 billion to federal, state, and local taxes that keep our metros moving. There are over 900,000 DACA-eligible individuals in our states combined, contributing over $1 billion in taxes each year. Which means that deporting them would not only be devastating to families, but also bad for our economy. Data from the Cato Institute estimated that deporting individuals with DACA status would cost the federal government over $60 billion, with an additional $280 billion in lost economic growth over the next decade. That is a scenario we simply cannot afford.
While federal court injunctions are keeping DACA on life support, the uncertainty around the program’s future is preventing our immigrant youth from realizing their potential—as future doctors, teachers, engineers, or entrepreneurs—to everyone’s detriment. There are several proposals to protect Dreamers in exchange for increased border security that have been introduced and have broad bipartisan support. A recent poll found that 80 percent of conservative and Republican voters—and 86 percent of President Trump’s base voters—also support this type of legislative solution. Yet Congress has repeatedly failed to turn this consensus into action.
As chambers of commerce, we cannot allow politics to stand in the way of economic growth. That is why two weeks ago 15 of the nation’s largest chambers of commerce convened in Salt Lake City to discuss the importance of immigration to our metro areas and build our agenda on this issue moving forward. But only Congress has the power to enact a real solution. We call on you to pass a bipartisan deal on Dreamers now. Our industries need that deal—and it will also lay the groundwork for the type of broader, common-sense reforms to our immigration system that we need to compete globally. It’s time for Congress to put politics aside and do the right thing for our young people and for our economy. Our businesses and our communities depend on it.
Ambos Nogales Hispanic Chamber
Ames Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Asian Chamber of Commerce of Colorado
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Colorado Asian Chamber of Commerce
Dallas Regional Chamber
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Douglas Hispanic Chamber
Dubuque Area Chamber
East Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Fresno Chamber of Commerce
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Greater Louisville Inc.
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Maine State Chamber of Commerce
Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber
Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Pembroke Park/West Park Chamber of Commerce
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
Quad Cities Chamber
Salt Lake Chamber
Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce
Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
Sierra Vista Hispanic Chamber
South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce
St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce
Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The Silicon Valley Organization
Tucson Hispanic Chamber
Weston Florida Chamber of Commerce
About The Silicon Valley Organization
The Silicon Valley Organization, formerly known as the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, is Silicon Valley’s premier business networking and advocacy, and economic development organization, representing nearly 1,400 employers and 300,000 employees throughout the greater Silicon Valley. It promotes a robust and sustainable regional economy to support business growth while improving the region’s quality of life. For more information: www.thesvo.com
About New American Economy
New American Economy (NAE) brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. Coalition members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Learn more at www.newamericaneconomy.org