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Business and Industry Leaders Discuss the Economic Impact of the Decision to End DACA and Call on Congress to Address Immigration Challenges This Year

Business and industry leaders from Arizona, Iowa, Utah, and Washington describe the local impact of the DACA decision and solutions for Congress to help keep the economy strong

New York, NY — Several business and industry leaders from across the country took part in a national media call yesterday to discuss the economic impact of the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The call was sponsored by New American Economy (NAE) as part of a national effort with local partners to call attention to the need for a Congressional solution to keep DREAMers in the economy.

The media teleconference included representatives from several industries and highlighted new economic research from NAE on the DACA-eligible population.

“Arizona has about 30,000 individuals that have gone through this effort (DACA) and are productive members of our workforce. Others are in our universities and others have served our country honorably in our military protecting our freedoms,” said Glenn Hamer, President & CEO of Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We feel very strongly that Congress must act and act swiftly to provide a permanent fix and protection to those who would be eligible under this program. This is something that needs to be delivered this calendar year.”

“These are bright, hardworking young people who have worked hard to build for the American dream. Ending DACA and removing these protections would be a considerable loss here in central Iowa and across the state. They are filling critically needed positions in our workforce and contributing to the state’s economy,” said Mary Bontrager, Executive Vice President of Talent Development at Greater Des Moines Partnership. “If we were to lose the DACA recipients, it would be a loss of more than $188 million to the GDP of Iowa. We strongly urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act and allow for these hardworking young men and women to continue to be a vital component of our region and our national economic growth.” 

The group is working with New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan organization that supports immigration reforms which help both American and foreign-born workers build a better economy.

“Many of the DACA recipients are members of families that brought their children with them when they came to work in Washington’s orchards, vineyards, and fields. For most of them, the U.S. is the only home they know,” said Mike Gempler, Executive Director of Washington Growers’ League. “These DACA recipients are working now, they’re studying now in school to continue to be a strong and productive part of our society and community. They represent a very positive part of the future of Washington state’s rural towns and economy.”

We have had several years where DACA has been the law of the land and we’ve seen the positive impact that it’s had. These are our friends, these are our neighbors, and, in some cases, these are family members. This is their country; this is all that they know. We know this will be a net positive for America to find legal status for these children,” said Jason Mathis, Executive Vice President of Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. “There is no excuse for Congress not to act. All members of Congress need to step up and find the political courage to do the right thing by their state, by their constituents, and the right thing for America in terms of continuing DACA protections.”

A brief released by NAESpotlight on the DACA-Eligible Population, found that:

  • Despite the rhetoric claiming undocumented youths are a drain on the U.S. economy, 90 percent of the DACA-eligible population who are at least 16 years old are employed.
  • In 2015, DACA-eligible entrepreneurs had a total business income of $658.7 million, a significant boost to local economies across the country
  • DACA-eligible population earns almost $19.9 billion in total income annually. They contribute more than $1.4 billion to federal taxes and more than $1.6 billion to state and local taxes in the United States. They also hold significant economic clout after taxes, with almost $16.8 billion in spending power.

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New American Economy brings together more than 500 mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. More…

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