A Statement by Dr. Johan E. Uvin, President, IEL
As an immigrant and proud citizen of the United States, I cannot be silent about the proposed ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Dissolving DACA goes against American values of fairness and opportunity. Thousands of people chose to courageously to step forward and enroll in this program so they could work, go to school, and contribute to our society. Dissolving DACA is unfair and robs people of the opportunities they worked hard to create. Dissolving DACA also makes no economic sense. The net labor force growth we need to sustain our economy depends on immigration. Without immigrants, we would not have enough workers to do all the work we need to do. DACA youth and young adults are well-trained and productive contributors to our workforce and economy.
A recent national survey analyzing the economic employment, educational, and societal experiences of DACA recipients, shows that Dreamers are making a positive impact on our economy, earning higher wages, purchasing first homes, and creating new businesses. Building more effective pathways into the workforce to help all young people transition to adulthood is one of IEL's pillars. As we continue to help advocate for those who do not have a voice, we must remember we are a country of immigrants.
Dissolving DACA makes no social sense. Our 800,000 DACA youth and young adults have lived most, if not all, of their lives in the United States, and the DACA initiative has given them the opportunity to learn and grow safely without having to live in fear and wonder whether there even is a future for them in the United States. Our families make decisions about where they want to live. Why start a practice that holds children accountable for decisions of their families and tears families apart? Our Dreamers grew up with our children. They are our children. They share all of our values. Think about Alonso Guillen, who drove last week more than 100 miles south from his home in Lukfin, Texas, determined to help those trapped by Hurricane Harvey flooding in the Houston area. He made the choice to help and serve his fellow Americans but sadly died saving Harvey victims.
IEL stands behind all of the youth and families in our programs regardless of their immigration status, and believes that everyone in our country has the right to dream and feel safe in their community. Ninety-four percent of Dreamers said that because of DACA they pursued educational opportunities. We will advocate with others for swift passage of the DREAM Act to enact DACA into law so we can all dream, work, and live together in peace.
Photo courtesy of Times Free Press