A DACA solution would be good for Texas — and the country

Hundreds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to show their support for President Obama’s immigration executive action as the Court hears oral arguments on the action in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 2016. Photo by Lexey Swall

Recent debate in Washington over the federal budget led to an unfortunate and irresponsible shutdown of the federal government due to Congress’ inaction. The lack of compromise and the eventual outcome of turning off the government’s lights was pinned on the inability of Congress to compromise on the status of roughly 800,000 young people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Congress struck an agreement to address this issue in February and we at the Texas Association of Business urge them to do so.

Texas is second only to California in its number of residents registered with the DACA program. There are approximately 234,000 DACA recipients currently in the state. While border security and enforcing our current immigration laws are imperative, we need a better recognition of who DACA recipients are.

They are individuals we have put through our public and higher education systems, investing our tax dollars (and theirs) along the way. They are individuals who are working in Fortune 500 companies and other businesses. They are contributing members of our society.

Why would we contemplate sending these individuals to foreign countries and allowing those countries to reap the rewards of our investment? Many of these young people have never known homes outside the United States and the prospect of deporting them to countries with which they are entirely unfamiliar is not only inhumane but also economically damaging.

Americans and Texans are tired of partisan gridlock and there should not be anything political about protecting individuals who are making positive contributions to the nation’s economy and communities throughout Texas. For that reason, we support the efforts of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, Sen. John Cornyn and others who are seeking to forge a bipartisan, permanent solution to this issue.

We call on businesses in Texas, whose customers and employees may well be DACA recipients, to join us in urging Congress to solve this important issue before the Feb. 8 deadline. Treat DACA recipients with the dignity that all people deserve and give Dreamers the opportunity to realize the American dream.

The Texas Association of Business has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

A.J. Rodriguez

Chairman, Texas Association of Business

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