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Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce 2019 Chamber of the Year
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Media Center

June 25, 2020 3:04pm

GLI calls on Congress to protect Dreamers and support DACA

GLI is once again calling on Congress to take action to protect Dreamers from the threat of deportation and detainment. Dreamers, or individuals eligible for protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, are major contributors to our regional economy and workforce. The program was established by the Obama administration but has been challenged by the Trump administration. The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling against an effort by the White House to end the program, though DACA remains vulnerable to disruption and other executive actions. To fully protect Dreamers and provide certainty for them, their families, their employers, as well as their own employees and co-workers, GLI urges Congress pass legislation codifying DACA in federal statute. GLI President and CEO, Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, wrote to Greater Louisville’s congressional delegation this afternoon expressing the business community’s support for DACA.

GLI has long advocated for DACA because of the positive impacts Dreamers have had on our economy and workforce. In the letter, GLI also expressed concerns over the President Trump’s recent Executive Order to limit visas for foreign workers.

Read the full letter below.

In light of this month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, GLI is again urging Congress to take action to protect Dreamers from the threat of deportation and detainment. GLI has advocated in favor of DACA for three years now because of the positive impact that Dreamers have had on our economy and workforce. While we were pleased with the Court’s ruling, the fate of DACA remains uncertain. Swift and bold action by Congress would remove this uncertainty to the benefit of Dreamers, our economy, and our regional workforce.

Kentucky and Indiana have a combined DACA-eligible population of approximately 15,000, with many of these individuals located in urban regions like Greater Louisville. Less than 12,000 of these individuals have reportedly received protections under DACA. Dreamers in Kentucky and Indiana are major contributors our economy and workforce:

  • They hold an estimated $300 million in total annual household income
  • They pay a combined $35 million in state and local taxes
  • They have an estimated $235 million in spending power
  • Nationally, DACA-eligible individuals have an employment rate of 93 percent and a higher entrepreneurship rate than the U.S.-born population

We need these individuals in our region to help us rebuild our economy and workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate that many of the workforce challenges that regional employers faced prior to the pandemic will resurface throughout the economic recovery. The DACA-eligible population has been – and will continue to be – instrumental in addressing these challenges. Congress must act to give Dreamers, their families, their employers, and co-workers certainty and protect them from the threat of deportation and detainment.

In addition, we want to express concern over President Trump’s recently announced Executive Order to limit work visas in the United States. As we state in our 2020-2021 Federal Agenda, it is vital that employers have the freedom to recruit high-skill workers and executives from around the globe. We fear that this Order may threaten the ability of businesses to access the talent pipelines they need to grow and thrive.

We recognize that comprehensive immigration reform will take time for Congress to address, but our members encourage you and your colleagues in Washington to address these two issues as expeditiously as possible.