‘DREAMers’ need certainty; so does Colorado’s economy
Authors: Jeff Wasden, Janine Davidson - December 18, 2017 - Updated: December 18, 2017
Colorado has often been at the forefront of improving lives for everyone. DACA recipients, or DREAMers as they’re also known, should be no exception. From health care to tax reform, this year Congress has focused on large legislation impacting all Americans. Our members of Congress should also remember the many contributions our DREAMers make to our communities and economy. It’s time to improve their lives by once and for all creating certainty and clarity.
On Dec. 7, the Colorado Business Roundtable and Metropolitan State University of Denver, took part in the iMarch for Immigration campaign by participating in a roundtable with other community and business leaders. The media was invited to witness the discussion. The iMarch roundtable called on the Colorado federal delegation to pass legislation protecting DREAMers and to acknowledge the contributions these students and young workers provide to Colorado in multiple ways.
Our state’s business community is stable, vibrant, and growing. As DREAMers finish their education and enter the workforce, they help to fill workforce shortages at both ends of the skill spectrum, thus providing stability to the Colorado workforce. A report by New
American Economy states more than 95 percent of the DACA-eligible population is in the labor force. The sheer numbers of DREAMers who are employed help to ensure Colorado remains competitive at national and international levels. As the business community grows, immigrant workers and DREAMers will be key to Colorado’s success.
As DREAMers continue to enter the workforce, they contribute to the economy as any other native-born worker does. Each year, our DACA-eligible population pays over $25 million in state and local taxes, and more than $52 million in total taxes including federal. Through the purchases of goods and services and every day shopping, Colorado’s immigrant population has a spending power of over $12 billion. They are contributing daily to the vibrancy of their local communities.
The United States needs to understand the economic impact DREAMers play in businesses across diverse industries. Impacts to small and medium-size businesses will be devastating if we continue down the path of deporting DREAMers and undocumented immigrants. Our communities will struggle without them. Time and time again we have come to rely on foreign-born workers who add great value to not only the workplace but their communities. Whether they are doctors, lawyers, and software developers, or farmers, field managers, and fresh fruit producers, they will secure stability, vibrancy, and growth for Colorado’s future. The same can be said for the future of the United States.
As Congress works to pass the spending bill, the federal delegation and other members of Congress must remain cognizant of the above facts. Congress must pass legislation that will once and for all provide certainty for the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers in the country. They have sacrificed much and many only know of this country as home. It is time for Congress to pass a legislative remedy to solidify their standing.