Open Letter to CA Congressional Delegation: Pass Legislation to Protect California Dreamers and DACA
Sept. 8, 2017
To: Members of California’s congressional delegation
RE: Pass Legislation to Protect California Dreamers and DACA
Dear Majority Leader McCarthy, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris, and all members of California’s congressional delegation:
This week the White House announced its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects approximately 242,339 young people from deportation in California. Nationwide, the DACA program is a lifeline for nearly 800,000 young immigrants who came to this country as children. We urge you to take action to protect them by passing legislation to protect their status.
United Way organizations exist to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. We know firsthand the harm that removal of DACA will cause both to the young people directly affected and to our communities.
We are a nation of immigrants. With the exception of Native Americans, every American family is rooted in people coming from all parts around the world seeking a better life.
The DACA program was designed to protect children and youth who were brought to the United States prior to the age of eighteen from being deported. For most, the United States is the only home they have known. DACA recipients must have either a high school diploma, be enrolled in school, or be enlisted or a veteran of the US armed services.
The removal of DACA-permitted workers would have huge economic effects across the country. Experts are estimating a cost of between $100-200 billion nationally over just the next five years. California –with a DACA workforce of 188,000– would suffer the most of any state, and could lose $11.3 billion per year in GDP according to research by the Center for American Progress. The removal of DACA would also interrupt the education of many future productive workers. In California, officials estimate that 72,300 undocumented students are enrolled at the state’s public colleges and universities (60,000 at community colleges, 8,300 at Cal State and 4,000 at UCs) and that half of these probably have DACA protection now. Our Dreamers are or will become nurses, doctors, teachers, and other contributing members of our communities.
United Ways of California will continue to fight to advance the education, income and health for all Californians, including those who have come here from other countries. We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to protect DACA and cement it in law, so these Dreamers can continue to pursue the American dream. We should not forget our roots as a nation of immigrants, and we should not forsake the needs of children and youth, regardless of their country of origin.
Very Truly Yours,
CEO & President
United Ways of California