Passing the Dream Act makes economic and moral sense
A recording of today’s call is available here.
Cleveland, OH — As the fate of the nation’s “Dreamers” will soon be decided by Congress, Policy Matters Ohio releases a new analysis about the economic contributions they are making in Ohio. Speakers on a press call reflected on these contributions, and re-emphasized the importance of Congress enacting a solution for Ohio’s Dreamers.
The blog, entitled “Crackdown on Dreamers could cost Ohio millions,” demonstrates the clear fiscal benefits that Dreamer legislation would mean for the Ohio economy:
An estimated 10,000 Ohioans are eligible for the Dream Act. If Congress passes the bill, the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) would see a long-term annual increase of $92 million, according to the Center for American Progress. Ohio’s GDP could increase by more than $300 million every year if half the eligible Dreamers obtain permanent residence by getting either a 2-year or 4-year college degree.
Daniel Ortiz, Outreach Coordinator, Policy Matters Ohio, said:
Who is keeping their promise to the idea of America by keeping their word to this generation of American immigrants? According to estimates from the Center for American Progress, if Congress passes the Dream Act the Ohio gross domestic product would see a long-term annual increase of at least $92 million. At this time of year, it is important to remind our fellow citizens that Dreamers are productive contributors to society and we stand with them in asking Members of Congress to pass a Dream Act.
A related analysis from Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee in Congress delineates how rural America has benefited from the DACA program. DACA made it possible for Dreamers in rural areas to get jobs, continue their educations, open businesses, and purchase cars and homes that in turn contribute to the local tax base and community cohesion.
Elvis Saldias, a DACA recipient from Columbus, who grew up in rural Northwest Ohio, said:
When DACA was created it was a blessing to me and thousands of others in Ohio and across the US. Access to higher education and the ability to work provided me with the tools to further progress on my life goals. It also provided me with piece of mind when driving, during air travel, social events with friends, and everyday life.
I’ve been employed consistently since DACA came out in 2012. I had college to pay for and other expenses and it was something I needed to do full time even as a student. I was able to finish up my studies at Ohio State in 2016 and graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. During my college years I was employed at an aluminum foundry, as a forklift driver at an automotive factory, a frozen pizza processor, at multiple restaurants, and lastly as a student employee at the Ohio Student Union of Ohio State. I wanted to provide these examples so people can see that we HAVE to work to get by and that we don’t rely, neither are we eligible, for many benefits that critics will ascribe to us.
Now, I work here in Columbus at Nationwide Insurance, helping people who have undergone a loss at their home and need us to assess the damage and indemnify them. We have had a lot of natural disasters this year, and people in my position are a type of first responders as we have to respond right after the fire or police department have done their duty and help put folks and their homes back into a pre-loss state.
I need Congress to pass the Dream Act because I simply need to continue doing what I’m doing. I need to continue helping policyholders across the country. I need to continue mentoring kids who need help getting to know this country and learn English. I didn’t know any English when I arrived as a kid and I relied on others who were committed to helping me develop. I’m now trying to pay that forward by mentoring other newcomers at a local public school. I need a Dream Act to continue all this and more.
In the interest of the average American and the American economy we need Dreamers like myself, who are teachers, engineers, etc. to continue filling these roles and contributing to the economy. My hope is that Ohio elected officials listen to their constituents and put forth legislation that puts our lives back on track now.
Underscoring many of Elvis’ sentiments, yesterday Governor John Kasich and a bipartisan group of governors sent a letter to congressional leaders in both parties urging them to “come together quickly to shape a bipartisan solution that allows our Dreamers to remain in the United States and continue their constructive contributions to our society.” The letter was signed by Republican and Democratic governors from Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Recent polling also shows that Americans are firmly in favor of a solution for Dreamers.
Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio, said:
As the Kasich letter makes clear, passing the Dream Act is the mainstream position in America today. It makes economic and moral sense. Dreamers are already American in every way but one–their citizenship–and we need Congress to pass a law that makes it official. When they do that, they will be bringing huge relief to families led by Dreamers, with the support and backing of most Americans. Consider this: DACA made it possible for Dreamers to buy homes and cars for the first time. Where do they make those purchases? Our local communities. Who benefits from that economic activity? Local businesses and taxpayers. Congress has a golden opportunity to do something that is unifying and bipartisan, instead of always engaging in the politics of division and partisanship. Pass the Dream Act now.
Background: In September, President Trump terminated the DACA program, leaving the future of America’s Dreamers in the hands of Congress. Since then, hundreds of business leaders, colleges and universities, and other sectors of society have urged Congress to act without delay. For more on DACA, Dreamers, and the legislation needed to resolve their status, read this America’s Voice Immigration 101 piece.
The Policy Matters Ohio blog post, entitled “Crackdown on Dreamers could cost Ohio millions,” is available HERE.
The Joint Economic Committee Democrats analysis, entitled “Rural DACA By the Numbers,” is available HERE.
A full recording of today’s press call is available HERE.