Growing List of Now Nearly 800 Business Leaders from Every Sector of the Economy Call On Congress to Protect Dreamers

Posted by FWD.us Press on 09/20/2017

Number of Business Leader Signatories More Than Doubles Since Initial Letter Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, nearly 800 entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the country and representing every major sector of the economy released an open letter calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or a permanent a legislative solution that provides Dreamers raised in our country the solution they deserve. Businesses leaders from manufacturing, retail, agriculture, technology, financial services, entertainment, health care, energy and utilities, and every major sector of the economy signed the letter urging Congress to act on this urgent issue.

The first letter was released with just over 350 signatures, and now the combined list of unique signatories between the two letters has reached nearly 800 – more than double the original – as momentum grows for Congress to bring a Dream Act or a permanent legislative solution that Dreamers deserve to a vote.

The letter and current signatory list can be found here. The letter will remain open and those who wish to sign in the future can do so here.

Full text:

Open Letter from the Leaders of Industry

To: Speaker Paul Ryan; Leader Nancy Pelosi; Leader Mitch McConnell; and Leader Charles E. Schumer

With the rescission of the DACA program, it is urgent that Congress immediately pass the bipartisan Dream Act – or similar legislation – that gives Dreamers the permanent legislative solution they deserve.

Without a permanent legislative solution before next March, roughly 800,000 DACA recipients will lose their ability to work and study legally, will be forced from their jobs, and will be subject to immediate deportation. Further, without congressional action, our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.

Congressional action and a permanent legislative solution is the only path forward to prevent these devastating consequences. This is urgent, and we only have a few months to act.

All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.

Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
We urge both parties in Congress to work together to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or similar legislation that gives Dreamers the permanent legislation they deserve.

FWD.us to lead expanded line of work, hires criminal justice reform expert

Posted by FWD.us Press on 09/19/2017

FWD.us is continuing to deepen its commitment to criminal justice reform, and today is announcing the hiring of Zoë Towns, former Criminal Justice Project Director at The Pew Charitable Trusts, as its new Senior Criminal Justice Reform Director. Zoë’s record of developing and implementing successful reform strategies in states across the country will be integral to shaping how the organization achieves meaningful policy impact on this critical issue.

Prior to FWD.us, Zoë oversaw statewide reform initiatives in Oregon, Mississippi, Utah, Maryland, Alaska, and Louisiana for The Pew Charitable Trusts. There, she collaborated with elected officials, administrators, practitioners, and advocates to forge consensus policy solutions, build diverse coalitions, and advance comprehensive pretrial, sentencing, and corrections legislative reforms. Earlier in her career, she helped pilot and then direct The Bronx Freedom Fund, a community bail fund in the South Bronx.

“We are excited to welcome Zoë Towns to lead our criminal justice reform work. Her record of balancing policy expertise with political practicality to get impactful reforms through in red and blue states alike will be fundamental as we shape this line of work. With her help, our plan is to chase big, audacious goals in coalition with policymakers and constituencies from across the political spectrum,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte.

FWD.us will focus its criminal justice reform work on 1) safely reducing the number of people incarcerated, 2) shrinking the criminal justice system, and 3) creating opportunities for the tens of millions of people who have been incarcerated or who have criminal records. At the same time, we are also redoubling our efforts around immigration reform, including increasing engagement with members on both sides of the aisle and organizing hundreds of business leaders, as well as hundreds of thousands of supporters around the country, to send a clear message to Congress that the time for a Dream Act is now.

FWD.us is launching a long-term criminal justice reform initiative

Posted by Todd Schulte on 09/19/2017

Over the last year, we are proud to have engaged in a handful of criminal justice reform efforts in California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and North Carolina. We assisted in these efforts because they presented a real opportunity for policy improvements, notably to safely reducing the number of people incarcerated, shrink the criminal justice system, and create opportunities for the tens of millions of people who have been incarcerated or who have criminal records. We also wanted to learn more about how the criminal justice system works and to engage with those already doing the work to reform it. Here’s what we took away.

Our criminal justice system is fundamentally broken. America’s criminal justice system locks too many people up for far too long, and locks too many people out of achieving their full potential. Our current criminal justice system does not deliver us more safety or more opportunity while doing substantial harm to communities and families, especially to communities of color, and incurring substantial cost at the local, state, and federal level. Rather, it undermines the promise of who we can and should be.  

But there’s hope. We believe it’s important to identify bipartisan opportunities to find practical solutions to big problems. We’re excited that this is happening in states as different as California, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. In these places and elsewhere, broad bipartisan coalitions – conservatives and progressives, law enforcement professionals and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, elected officials and crime survivors, business groups and faith leaders – are coming together to improve their criminal justice systems.

We can and want to help. At FWD.us, we combine grassroots organizing on both sides of the aisle, policy expertise, and political savvy to broaden and amplify stakeholder coalitions, to elevate the voices of people directly impacted, and to get the right information to the right policymakers in the right moments. We want to bring those same strategies to bear to advance our criminal justice goals, which include: 1) safely reducing the number of people incarcerated, 2) shrinking the criminal justice system, and 3) creating opportunities for the tens of millions of people who have been incarcerated or who have criminal records. We want to drive change grounded in the input of people who are directly impacted by the system, and in the data about what works.

We are excited to welcome Zoë Towns to lead our criminal justice reform work as we deepen our efforts to reform the criminal justice system. Her record of balancing policy expertise with political practicality to get impactful reforms through in red and blue states alike is exactly the kind of leadership we need to shape this new line of work. With her help, our plan is to chase big, audacious goals in a small number of states in coalition with policymakers and constituencies across the political spectrum.

The work ahead is as hard as it is necessary. In our short exploration into criminal justice reform, we have seen excellent policy reforms win the day and we have seen others stall. But we’re not afraid of a tough fight. Winning will mean bringing together legislative, electoral, research, cultural, and communications strategies. It will mean working alongside the highly sophisticated network of criminal justice reformers already hard at work.  

Of course, we won’t let up even for a second on our urgent fight to pass a Dream Act and to achieve commonsense immigration reform. With the support and guidance of our founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and Priscilla Chan and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, FWD.us is continuing to grow into a multi-issue organization.  At the same time, we are also redoubling our efforts around immigration reform, including increasing engagement with members on both sides of the aisle and organizing hundreds of business leaders, as well as helping to engage hundreds of thousands of supporters around the country, to send a clear message to Congress that the time for a Dream Act is now.

We will bring the same dedication and fervor to criminal justice reform as we have committed to immigration reform.

FWD.us Joins “The DACA Renewal Fund” to Support DACA Recipients Under Threat, Urges Congress to Pass Permanent Legislative Solution

Posted by FWD.us Press on 09/14/2017

WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us today is proud to announce we are partnering with  United We Dream, and other advocacy organizations in committing resources to the DACA Renewal Fund,  an urgent effort to support DACA recipients renewal application fees. The Trump Administration’s decision to terminate DACA in 6 months has forced more than 150,000 immigrant youth whose DACA status expires between now and March 5th of 2018 to file to renew their DACA status before October 5th, 2017 deadline. This process is urgent, complicated, and expensive – applicants must submit $495 fee along with their renewal applications.  For many DACA recipients who are students or low wage workers who often spend months saving up to pay for these fees, that is an extraordinary and unexpected expense.

“We’re proud to support the DACA Renewal Fund, which will support young people who need to quickly file their renewals by October 5th with resources to help cover the costs of the application,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “While we continue our work to urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to pass bipartisan legislation that will protect Dreamers from deportation, we are excited to be part of this effort, and we encourage others to join us to stand up for Dreamers who are contributing to our communities and our economy every day.”

The DACA Renewal Fund enjoys support from advocacy organizations across the country that are committed to fighting for nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, who live in every state and the District of Columbia. These hardworking Dreamers, most of whom know only the U.S. as home and who came to the country at a young age, already live, work, study in, and contribute immeasurably to our communities. In addition to the staggering moral cost of deporting Dreamers, removing nearly 800,000 individuals from the workforce would cost the U.S. economy more than $460 billion in lost GDP over a decade.  We continue to urge Congress to immediately pass the bipartisan Dream Act that would allow Dreamers to continue to live, work and contribute to the only country most have ever known.

For more information, or to donate to The Renewal Fund, click here.