FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Statement on Repeal of DACA Program
September 5, 2017- The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and our 1,200 members are deeply disheartened and disappointed in the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Five years ago the opening of the DACA program application marked the beginning of a brighter future for Dreamers, our businesses, and our country as a whole. No longer did our community’s Dreamers have to fear deportation; a whole world of possibilities previously denied to them was suddenly open. It also opened up a segment of the workforce for businesses struggling to fill talent gaps. Businesses could now recruit and hire Dreamers without fear or hesitation.
Sadly, the bright future offered by DACA has been extinguished by today’s announcement. Today, we have failed the 800,000 individuals who have lived side by side with us for most of their lives, who have struggled alongside us in their pursuit of the American Dream. We have failed those individuals who willingly gave up their personal information on the promise that they would be protected.
Each one of our staff members knows at least one person who will be affected by this decision, who will have their lives turned upside down because of this decision. These individuals are our coworkers, our students, our friends, our neighbors, and our family members. They are not criminals; they are not thieves; they are not murders; they are the same people we saw just last week risking their own lives to save others in the devastating floods in Houston.
At a time when we need to be coming together as a nation, we should not be ripping families apart.
The ending of the program will not only devastate families across the state and country, it will also hurt our economy. According to a poll conducted by the Center for American Progress, deferred action programs like DACA will grow the US economy by $230 billion, increase the GDP for the state of Texas by $38.27 billion, and create an average of 4,800 jobs in Texas alone. DACA recipients report being able to pursue education opportunities they previously could not and receiving better wages than they previously had, enhancing and improving their lives and our communities.
Too often, immigrants are seen as a burden to our country, not the asset they truly are. Our country, our state, and our community could not grow, could not compete without these individuals. If we truly want to be competitive on a global scale, if we truly want to ensure the growth and success of our economy, we must pass comprehensive immigration reform that treats immigrants seeking to come to our country, and those Dreamers who already call our country home, as the assets they are, not as perceived burdens or threats.
We urge Congress to act quickly in passing legislation, such as the BRIDGE Act, that will protect DACA recipients and other Dreamers before time runs out. Protecting these individuals, thereby protecting our economic growth and stability, should be a priority for Congress before they turn to passing more comprehensive immigration reform.
It is time that we focus on immigration reform that exemplifies and upholds our values as a nation that was built by immigrants. Ending the DACA program stands in direct opposition to those ideals.
To all of the DACA recipients from our community and beyond, we stand with you.
Now, more than ever, is a time for action. It is time for us to lift our lamp beside our golden door and embrace the ideas, talents, and hopes of those seeking a better life and greater opportunities. As an organization representing 1,200 members and our small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses, we support and will continue to support immigration reform and legislation that embraces diversity and enhances our businesses and our communities.
The mission of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is to continue to be the leading advocate in promoting the success of small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses in the greater El Paso region, by providing resources, information and education while promoting the awareness and preservation of the Hispanic Culture.
If you are a DACA recipient, please call the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for a list of immigration attorneys that can assist you with any concerns or questions you may have.