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Letter to Congress in Defense of DACA

Members of the 115th Congress of the United States of America,

We are a nation of immigrants. Together, the American people can trace roots to every country in the world.  This is because we each have an ancestor that was uprooted, voluntarily or involuntarily, from his or her home abroad. Despite our many origins, we know ourselves to be entirely, unquestionably American. America is the only country where you can immigrate to an unfamiliar land and become a part of it. The newly naturalized citizen is as much a part of the fabric of society as the citizen whose family has lived in the country for generations. They are equally American. Likewise, children who have traveled to the United States through no fault of their own, who have lived almost the entirety of their lives on U.S. soil, are Americans.

Today, The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is writing to you on behalf of these Dreamers. Outside of the politics of Washington, you know these people as the children who grew up with your children. They learned American history and read American literature in American public schools. They pledged allegiance to the American flag and some are currently serving in the military and swore an oath to the American constitution. Thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Dreamers have had the opportunity to enter the workforce, pursue higher education and live in the nation they call home without fear of deportation. From an economic standpoint, these individuals represent the epitome of the hard-working immigrants this country depends on. As a community, 97% are employed, in school or serving in the military. As taxpayers, they contribute $2 billion each year in state and local taxes. Moreover, these individuals are disqualified from federal welfare, benefits or assistance of any kind. DACA recipients have undergone background checks and have been found to pose no threat to this country they call home.

The American people are counting on you to find a solution for Dreamers so that they may continue to live and work in the only home they know. The 800,000 individuals that are currently enrolled in DACA make significant contributions to the American society and economy. Each year, approximately 65,000 Dreamers graduate from high school. An additional 10,000 Dreamers graduate from college. At 91%, the employment rate for Dreamers is higher than the employment rate for the average native-born citizen. The social and economic contributions of the Dreamers are felt by all American people, though rarely acknowledged.

To allow DACA to expire unresolved would be a monumental failure on behalf of this Congress. Deporting Dreamers would cost the American people $60 billion along with a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade. The impact would stifle economic growth in an attempt to deport people that are legally contributing to the economy. The repeal of DACA is a disservice to all Americans and a disaster for the American economy. This Congress must take action to enact legislation now.

To this end, The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce calls on Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, to enact a permanent DACA solution to be signed into law before the current program ends. We pledge our full support to this goal and stand ready to serve as a resource and a catalyst throughout the halls of Congress in order that we might help settle grievances on this matter. Our 200 local chambers throughout the country and constituency of 4.4 million Hispanic owned businesses contributing over $700 billion to the American economy, remain committed to finding a permanent solution.

Sincerely,

Javier Palomarez

President & CEO

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

About the USHCC

The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of more than 4.4 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy every year. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide. For more information, visit ushcc.com. Follow us on Twitter @USHCC.

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