Business leaders urge Congress to move on the DREAM Act before the end of the year
LOS ANGELES, CA — In an unprecedented move, members of the Regional Economic Association Leaders (R.E.A.L.) Coalition of California expressed their business members’ voice in wanting to see a DREAM Act pass immediately.
The R.E.A.L Coalition is an association of California’s most influential business and economic development entities, representing 20 member organizations and up to 15,000 employers who collectively provide up to 3.9 million California jobs.
Last month, the Coalition sent a letter to House Majority Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supporting Dream legislation and highlighted the damages to the labor force and gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Gary Toebben, stressed, “If we focus on the facts for DACA recipients, we’ll find that nationally, 90 percent are employed, and they pay more than $1.4 billion to federal taxes and another $1.6 billion to state and local taxes. Yet, this industrious group of young strivers are at risk and live with the very real threat of being deported from the only country they have resided.”
According to New American Economy research, without a legislative solution, California will experience a major economic set back because these young people are crucial to the state's workforce. Collectively, they earn $19.9 billion in total income each year, and contribute more than $3 billion to federal, state and local taxes in the United States.
Jerry Sanders, President & CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce added, “The San Diego Regional Chamber supports comprehensive immigration reform that promotes an efficient border and provides the business community access to a workforce critical to its success. The immigrant population represents nearly one-third of the labor force in San Diego and contributes to about 25 percent of the region’s GDP. The dissolution of DACA will shrink our labor force and potentially deport over 40,000 San Diegans, who were brought into the U.S. as children, to places they barely know.”
“The business community of the Inland Empire has expressed grave concern about the negative consequences of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – losing hard-working, dedicated employees, as well as the related financial impacts. We stand with our businesses members and will continue to raise their voices so that our legislators know the DREAM Act needs to be passed immediately,” said Paul Granillo, President and CEO of Inland Empire Economic Partnership.
“As business representatives and community stakeholders, our region is teaching and mentoring the next generation of the best and brightest young adults. They have been loyal to our nation, and the Orange County Business Council is deeply concerned about deporting DACA recipients to a country to which they have no connection,” stressed Alicia Berhow, Senior Vice President, Orange County Business Council. “But the larger issue is this decision will result in the loss of our highly skilled and well trained, talented individuals to be successful elsewhere. In Orange County, that’s a loss of loss of approximately $1.3 billion to our GDP.”
“As we have urged our Member Company CEOs, we urge every person who wants to see a healthy economic future for California, to reach out to their Member of Congress to urge their support for the passage of the DREAM Act. We urge that action today, not tomorrow,” said Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group.