Kentucky Chamber encourages Congress to support DACA and protect Dreamers

In an effort to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and DACA-eligible individuals, also known as Dreamers, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is calling on Congress to take action to keep Dreamers in our country and in the Kentucky workforce. The program was established in 2012 but its constitutionality was challenged by the Trump Administration. The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of keeping DACA, but the program remains subject to executive action and other potential disruptions if no action is taken by Congress.

To support these Dreamers and protect them from the threat of detainment and/or deportation, Ashli Watts, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce submitted the following letter to members of Kentucky’s federal delegation:

As the Kentucky Chamber also works to promote a competitive business climate in Kentucky, we recognize the need for a skilled, healthy, and educated workforce. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided a pathway for a proven, skilled sector of our workforce to continue contributing to our economy, and we must ensure this program remains intact.

The Kentucky Chamber has continually advocated for protections for DACA-eligible individuals, or “dreamers,” in the past, and we are again calling on Congress to take action and protect dreamers from the threat of detainment and/or deportation.

We supported the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, but we recognize that the fate of the DACA program remains unclear. This is why the Kentucky Chamber is calling on Congress to take action that will protect dreamers, sending a message to these individuals that they are welcome in our country and that we appreciate their contribution to our economy.

Consider the following statistics:

    • 2,720 active DACA recipients lived in Kentucky as of 2019, while DACA has been granted to 10,059 people in total since 2012.
    • As of 2019, 62 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants in Kentucky had applied for DACA.
    • Kentucky DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals paid an estimated $8.1 million in state and local taxes in 2018.

Kentucky’s economy is already struggling due to the high rate of unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Imagine the impact of removing thousands more able-bodied employees from our workforce. The consequences would be dire not only to Kentucky businesses, but to thousands of dreamers in the Commonwealth who came here in pursuit of a better life of liberty and prosperity.

On behalf of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and its vast spectrum of members throughout the Commonwealth, we are urging Congress to take bold and swift action to protect the DACA program and protect Kentucky’s workforce and economy from further damage.

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