Boise, ID — Today, the Idaho Immigration Reform Coalition 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 Idaho’s economy stronger. The coalition called for Congressional solutions that instead harness the power of the foreign-born individuals eligible under DACA.
“Idaho’s foreign-born population may not be the largest in the nation, but it does not make our immigrants or the children of immigrants any less important to our success,” said David Cahoon, President at El Centro Inc. “They should have the same worth and the same opportunity here in Idaho, and their future should be just as bright as any native-born individual. We must protect their status as they are forever welcome in our state.”
The organization 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:
- 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.
“As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Seeking to remove immigrants who came to our country as children, people who had no choice in the matter and now know no other home – this is a clear break with these Biblical and Christian mandates,” said Marc Schlegel, Head Pastor of Hyde Park Mennonite Church. “As one who seeks to follow Christ, we must speak-up for DREAMers and the protection of DACA, we must speak-up for the stranger and our neighbors.”
Leaders in the NAE Idaho Coalition include:
- Bob Naerebout, Executive Director of Idaho Dairymen’s Association
- Alex LaBeau, President of Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry
- Dennis Tanikuni, Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs for Idaho Farm Bureau
- Braden Jensen, Government Affairs Director at the Idaho Farm Bureau
- Brent Olmstead, Former Executive Director of Milk Producers of Idaho
- Terry Jones, District Governor, Idaho Rotary
- Ivan Castillo, President of Idaho Hispanic Chamber
- Marc Schlegel, Head Pastor of Hyde Park Mennonite Church
- David Cahoon, President of El Centro Inc.