Salt Lake City, UT — Today, the Utah Immigration Reform Coalition released an open letter addressed to the Utah Congressional Delegation in response to the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The group of local leaders cited economic data compiled by New American Economy 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 Utah economy.
The open letter to the Utah 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 Utah Congressional Delegation
As leaders and representatives of some of Utah’s most important industries, we are committed to making sure our state’s economy continues to grow and create jobs for all Utahns. From tourism to tech, and from main street businesses to the Fortune 500, Utah’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 Utahns pay their way through school, contribute to our state’s workforce, start new businesses that create jobs, and have the opportunity to call the Beehive 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 Utah alone, more than 13,600 young people are eligible for DACA, the vast majority of whom (an estimated 91%) are already working and contributing to our state’s key industries. These individuals pay $13.1 million in state and local taxes, and according to a recent study, removing them would cost Utah more than $476.5 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 Utah economy strong.
Jorge Dennis, President of EnviroKleen
Stan Lockhart, Former Utah Republican Party Chairman
Jason Mathis, Executive Vice President, Salt Lake Chamber
Holly Richardson, Former Member of the Utah House of Representatives
Tim Wheelwright, Immigration Attorney at Durham Jones & Pinegar and Immigration Reform Task Force Chair of the Salt Lake Chamber
State Representative Mike Winder (R-West Valley City)
Aimee Winder Newton, Salt Lake County Council Member