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Deferred for Nine Years – Congressional Action Needed for “Dreamers”

Published Jun 15, 2021 by Taylor Landin

Washington, D.C.

This month marks the ninth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program, implemented in 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security through an executive order, grants law-abiding undocumented youth, also commonly referred to as “Dreamers”, a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation and provides them with the ability to study and legally work in the United States. 

There are currently an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients throughout the country. Texas is home to the second largest population of Dreamers who contribute significantly to the overall health and prosperity of Texas’ economy. DACA recipients contribute $454.4 million in annual state and local taxes, hold billions of dollars in spending power, and further contribute to our communities as homeowners and business owners, including many who employ native-born Americans. 

Over 30,600 of Texas’ essential workers are DACA recipients, working in industries such as health care, food service, agriculture, sanitation, transportation, and other critical sectors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these essential workers risked their own health to help keep the American economy alive, and their economic contributions are important as Texas begins its rebound in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Without a permanent legislative solution, the future of the DACA program is unknown. It would be possible for the program to be terminated at any time, thereby resulting in the upheaval of Texan DACA recipients and negatively impacting the Texas economy. The path forward should involve a bipartisan, commonsense approach to immigration that provides a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers that will help grow our economy, support our recovery and contribute to a robust workforce.

As the Senate continues to work out a legislative solution, the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which was heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on June 15, 2021. H.R. 6 would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other immigrants, such as foreign-born individuals who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). 

This is a pivotal moment for our leaders to address long-standing immigration issues with sensible solutions and to prioritize policies recognizing the crucial contributions of our nation’s Dreamers. They are integral members of our communities, imperative to our workforce, and critical to our economic strength and diversity. The Partnership supports urgent Congressional action to provide Dreamers with permanent protections from the fear of deportation.

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