Seattle, WA — Today, Washington business and community leaders responded to President Trump’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, opposing the decision to remove the thousands of individuals that help make Washington’s economy stronger. The group called for Congressional solutions that instead harness the power of the foreign-born individuals eligible under DACA.
“The cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) by the Trump administration is a blow to our rural communities, many of which have families that brought children with them as they came to work in Washington’s orchards, vineyards and fields,” said Mike Gempler, Executive Director of Washington Growers League. “These DACA kids, many of whom are young adults today, have grown up here in our rural communities and to them the U.S. is the only home they know. They are working and studying to continue to be a strong and productive part of our American society. These are the smart, young people who would be part of the agriculture industry’s technological future are also the positive future of Washington State’s rural towns and economy.”
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.
In a brief released on Friday, Spotlight on the DACA-Eligible Population, NAE found that:
- More than 28,000 Washingtonians are currently DACA-eligible
- Despite the rhetoric claiming undocumented youths are a drain on the Washington economy, 92 percent of the DACA-eligible population who are at least 16 years old are employed
- Washington’s DACA-eligible population earns more than $503 million in total income annually.
- Washington’s DACA-eligible population contributes more than $93 million in total taxes annually, $53 million of which goes to state and local tax revenue in the state of Washington
So far, NAE petitions opposing DACA repeal have garnered more than 800 signers across the state of Washington, and more than 20,000 nationwide.
“It is absolutely devastating for the administration to remove deferred action protection from the 28,000 young DACA adults in Washington State who are exemplary contributors to our communities and our economy,” said Tahmina Watson, Attorney at Watson Immigration Law. “Going forward, the president must promise to not remove any DACA recipient while Congress takes action to pass the DREAM Act, and commit to signing it into law to fix our immigration system and ensure permanent protection for this talented group of individuals we can’t afford to lose.”