Julio Fuentes: Businesses Back DACA Recipients
OPINION: Since the beginning, the business industry has backed the DACA program as well as the opportunity to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Business leaders have participated in direct communication with President Trump, formed organizations to fight for DACA, organized fly-ins and have personally met with congress. At the end of last year, over 100 companies put pressure on Congress by supporting a lawsuit that challenges the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA. These companies include names such as IBM, Facebook, Twitter and Uber.

There are an estimated 800,000 individuals who were brought to the United State as children, and these qualified DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” are being threatened of deportation. This includes more than 33,000 young adults who have only known the state of Florida to be their home.

Unfairly, a large portion of citizens put the same label on all immigrants who arrived in America illegally. DACA recipients are not criminals. We are talking about people who follow the law, attend school, open businesses, own homes and people who have only known what it is like to be an American.

More specifically, Six percent of DACA recipients have launched businesses, almost  55 percent of DACA recipients have purchased a vehicle, and more than 12 percent have purchased their first home. If immigration reform legislation is not passed, we will see drastic economic consequences, such as:

  • $1.5 billion annual GDP loss for Florida
  • $460 billion annual GDP loss for the United States
  • 30,000 people would lose their job each month
  • More than 1,400 people will lose jobs every single business day for the next two years

 On the other side of the coin, if immigration reform legislation were to pass, we would see positive impacts such as:

  • $22.7 billion would be added annually to the United States GDP
  • $82 - $273 raise to the average incomes of all Americans annually

 The Cato Institute has even found that cuts to legal immigration would cause a reduction in wages across all levels. Cato also mentions that immigration produces a net-benefit for Americans.

It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken. There is enough common ground that Congress can create a commonsense solution. I urge Congress to continue working towards a solution that is fair. Action needs to be in motion because the clock is ticking and our country would suffer on multiple levels if a legislative solution is not created.

Julio Fuentes is a member of the FWD.us Florida coalition and President & CEO at the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

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