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60 Chambers of Commerce Call on Congress to Protect DACA and TPS

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader 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 United States 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 and those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These protections would allow 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 1.25 million Dreamers—immigrants brought to the United States as children—who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. At the same time, 318,000 immigrants nationwide hold TPS protections that allow them to work in the United States, rather than facing life-threatening instability in their home countries. The current administration has attempted to terminate both programs, and while legal challenges have kept the programs alive for now, these immigrants could soon face deportation, often after decades in the United States.

These immigrants are driving economic growth in our communities. According to New American Economy, individuals eligible for DACA together earn $23 billion in total household income each year and contribute $4 billion of that income to federal, state, and local taxes that keep our metro areas moving. TPS holders, hailing from countries like El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras, are making similarly important contributions: Overall, this population holds $5.8 billion in spending power and the majority have lived in the United States for 20 years. Ninety-three percent of DACA-eligible immigrants and 94 percent of TPS holders were employed in 2017.

Deporting these community members—including workers and employers, consumers and homeowners—would not only be devastating to families but also to local economies. Data from the Cato Institute estimates that deporting individuals who already have DACA status would cost the federal government over $60 billion, with an additional $280 billion in lost economic growth over the next decade. Deporting TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti alone would cost taxpayers $3.1 billion. With national unemployment at near-record lows, this is a scenario we simply cannot afford.

While federal court injunctions are keeping DACA and TPS protections on life support, the uncertainty around these programs is preventing our immigrant neighbors from realizing their potential—as doctors, teachers, engineers, or entrepreneurs—to everyone’s detriment. There are several proposals to protect DACA and TPS, including the American Dream and Promise Act in the House and the Dream Act and the SECURE Act in the Senate. Americans of all kinds agree that a solution is necessary.

As chambers of commerce, we cannot allow politics to stand in the way of economic growth. That is why last month, nearly 20 chambers of commerce from major metros across the country convened in Los Angeles 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 to protect DACA and TPS holders now. Our industries need that deal—and it will also lay the groundwork for the type of broader, common-sense immigration reforms 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.

Sincerely,

Ames Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Dallas Regional Chamber
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce (Arkansas)
Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Fresno Chamber of Commerce
Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Greater Houston Partnership
Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Greater Louisville Inc.
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
Greater Omaha Chamber
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Lancaster Chamber
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
Longview Chamber of Commerce
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce
MPLS Regional Chamber
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Pembroke Park/West Park Chamber of Commerce
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Salt Lake Chamber
Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce
Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce
St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce
The Silicon Valley Organization
Texas Association of Business
Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers
United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce
Weston Florida Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF of the letter here.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…