Oklahoma City, OK — Today, local leaders in Oklahoma released an open letter addressed to the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation in response to the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The group cited economic data compiled by New American Economy (NAE) on the DACA-eligible population in the state, and called on the delegation to pass meaningful legislation that allows DREAMers to stay and contribute to the Oklahoma economy.
The open letter to the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation is released today by a cohort of state leaders who will lead the charge to mobilize signatures and support from additional conservative and business voices across the state.
Letter to the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation
As leaders and representatives of some of Oklahoma most important industries, we are committed to making sure our state’s economy continues to grow and create jobs for all Oklahomans. From family farms to innovative tech companies, and from main street businesses to the Fortune 500, Oklahoma’s economy relies on all of our hard workers and taxpayers to drive our state forward. That’s why we strongly oppose the decision by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has helped thousands of young Oklahomans pay their way through school, contribute to our state’s workforce, start new businesses that create jobs, and have the opportunity to call the Sooner State home.
Nationwide, there are as many as 1.3 million individuals who are DACA-eligible. The vast majority of them have graduated high school, and more than 90 percent speak English well or better. Collectively, they earn $19.9 billion in total income each year, and contribute more than $3 billion to federal, state and local taxes. Recent 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.
In Oklahoma alone, as many as 11,672 young people are DACA-eligible, the vast majority (an estimated 93.2%) of whom are already working and contributing to our state’s key industries. These individuals pay a total of $20 million in state and local taxes, and according to a recent study, removing current DACA holders would cost Oklahoma more than $343 million in GDP every year. These young people are crucial to our state’s economic future, and it makes business sense to keep them in the country and allow them to work here.
We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act that will allow this population to stay in the U.S. and continue contributing to our workforce. Our future success depends on it. Let’s work together to keep the Oklahoma economy strong.
Mike Carrier, President of Oklahoma City Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
David Castillo, President & CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber
Erika Lucas, Founder & CEO of StitchCrew
Renee Porter, President of Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School
William Velie, William Velie Attorneys at Law PLLC