Since our nation’s founding, immigrants have been coming to the U.S. in hopes of a better life for themselves and their children. Colorado’s more than 18,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, also known as Dreamers, are no exception.
Unfortunately, many DACA recipients’ dreams have been put on hold due to the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program two years ago on September 5, 2017. This decision has jeopardized their ability to pursue their American dream and has left DACA recipients living in limbo, unsure if they will be separated from their families, jobs and the only nation they have ever known.
Heightening DACA recipients’ uncertainty is the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments surrounding the program’s termination this November, which could result in a decision that could terminate the temporary protections DACA recipients have been given at any time. With the uncertain status of the DACA program, Dreamers have spent the past two years living in anxiety and fear.
Despite this, Dreamers have not sat on the sidelines. Instead, they have more than proven their incredible value to our communities. That is especially true here in Colorado.
As a chamber of commerce executive, I talk to business owners daily and know firsthand the impact of Dreamers on Colorado’s businesses, our economy and our communities. These hard-working individuals are essential to our state and are Coloradoans in every sense of the word.
DACA-eligible Coloradoans contribute nearly $32 million in state and local taxes each year and nearly 95 percent are employed. They own homes, make mortgage payments and generate more than $419 million in spending power each year. If Congress does not pass legislation that permanently protects these Coloradoans, our state will suffer economically and culturally, losing millions in revenue, and thousands of people who enrich our communities and help make Colorado the wonderful place we all call home. Losing these Coloradoans would be a disaster for our state and a stain on our nation’s legacy.
The good news is that Congress has a historic opportunity to solve this crisis. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act on an overwhelming and bipartisan basis. This legislation would provide permanent protections for DACA recipients, ensuring that they are not separated from their homes, communities, jobs, and the state they love.
The bill is now waiting for a vote in the Senate.
With an overwhelming majority of Americans supporting a solution for Dreamers, passing this legislation and sending it to the President’s desk should be a no-brainer. It is past time for the Senate to follow the example of their colleagues in the House of Representatives and pass the historic Dream and Promise Act. With the recent anniversary of the DACA’s rescission and the upcoming Supreme Court case, it is more important than ever to end the political games and finally provide permanent protections for Colorado’s Dreamers.
It is up to our representatives in Washington, Senators Gardner and Bennet, to take a bipartisan stand and push for this bill to receive a vote in the Senate. This opportunity to protect Dreamers is important and historic and I trust that our Senators will get the job done. Please reach out to our Senators to encourage them to do so.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com