U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley Stands With Dreamers at Press Conference to Highlight on Urgent Threat to DACA Program

Posted by FWD.us Press on 08/30/2017

CHICAGO, IL – Today, U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley joined local area Dreamers at the Austin-Irving Public Library in Chicago to highlight the urgent threat of repeal to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In June, Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with counterparts from nine other states, sent a letter to President Trump calling for him to terminate DACA. The letter asserted that if the administration agrees to phase out this program, the threat of a lawsuit will be dropped. Participants at today’s press conference discussed the important contributions that Dreamers have made to the United States, the devastating impact of a potential DACA repeal, and the need for the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would create a legalization process for roughly two million hardworking young people who came here as minors.

During the press conference, Congressman Quigley affirmed his commitment to support Dreamers and reiterated the urgency of defending the over 41,000 DACA recipients residing in Illinois. He was joined by local area Dreamers who shared the immeasurable impact of the DACA program on the lives of their families and their communities.


Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL)
David Adeleye, Midwest Organizing Director, FWD.us
Yuriana Aguilar, Physiology and Biophysics Instructor, DACA Recipient
Gosia Labno, Communications Fellow, DACA Recipient
Manu Gonza, Data Analytics Consultant, DACA Recipient
Asael Reyes, Student, DACA Recipient
Chirayu Patel, Project Manager, DACA Recipient

Prior to the press conference, the group convened at a roundtable to discuss the importance of Dreamers, examined the legislative priorities surrounding immigration reform and shared ways that the advocacy community can work with the Congressman going forward.

Illinois is home to approximately 41,000 DACA recipients, most of whom are either students pursuing education or gainfully employed as teachers, engineers, architects and health care workers, among other occupations. Eliminating the deferred action program would remove almost 800,000 workers from the U.S. workforce at a cost of $460 billion in national GDP lost over the next decade, and Illinois’ economy would lose an immense $2.2 billion dollars over the same period.

Quotes from participants are below:

“Young DREAMers who love our country and want to contribute to its collective success should not fear being torn away from their family and loved ones,” said Rep. Quigley. “It was inspiring to hear from Chicago DACA recipients, who shared their stories and ambitions with me today. Allowing DREAMers to stay in the only home they’ve ever known will help America grow and thrive, and I am committed to protecting their future through my efforts in Congress.” — Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL)

“Earning DACA has given me the privilege to have what many Americans take for granted: a Social Security Number, which allows me to legally live, work and study in the United States. Because of the DACA program, I was able to further my education and become the first undocumented person to earn a Ph.D. from the University of California at Merced. Today, I work closely with many U.S.-born students at Rush Medical College, helping them get one step closer to their academic and professional dreams. My career – and my ability to give back to this country – depends on the protections provided by the DACA program, so I’m asking elected officials to fight for its continuation and pass the DREAM Act so I can contribute here permanently.” — Yuriana Aguilar, Physiology and Biophysics Instructor, and DACA recipient

“DACA allows countless young undocumented Americans to legally work in the United States. My parents left their home so that their children could do better. Without DACA, that American dream would be impossible to fulfill.” — Gosia Labno, Communications Fellow and DACA recipient

“Dreamers play a crucial role in our society. These individuals are teachers, students dedicated to earning their degrees, healthcare practitioners, entrepreneurs and engineers. Dreamers have demonstrated their commitment to this country and should not live in fear of having this vital program revoked. The elimination of DACA would have devastating consequences, not only for Illinois, but for the 800,000 recipients living across the country, and for the millions of Americans who live, work and study with them every single day.” — FWD.us President Todd Schulte

Congressman Jeff Denham Joins Central Valley DACA Recipient to Highlight Urgent Need to Protect Dreamers

Posted by FWD.us Press on 08/29/2017

MODESTO, CA – Congressman Jeff Denham (CA – 10) today joined Central Valley Dreamer Tomas Evangelista to reaffirm his support for Dreamers and the DACA program, and called on his colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to join together to pass legislation to protect Dreamers facing the imminent threat of a DACA repeal. Congressman Denham and Evangelista discussed the transformative effect that DACA has had on the young man’s life, and urged lawmakers to pass a legislative solution that allows 800,000 hardworking young people like Tomas across the country to continue working, paying taxes, and serving local communities and in the U.S. military without fear of deportation. FWD.us hosted the discussion.

Pointing to the 25,000 DACA-eligible individuals living in Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin counties, Congressman Denham emphasized that Dreamers are significant drivers of the local economy. The congressman underscored that eliminating the DACA program without first passing a permanent legislative replacement would pull the rug out from under young immigrants who have known no other home outside the United States, and, beyond the grave moral implications, would cost the California economy almost $11 billion in annual GDP.

“Congress needs to act now to find a legislative solution for Dreamers who for years have been stuck in limbo,” said Congressman Denham. “Recent events only highlight the urgency of determining a path forward for those young adults, and I will continue to fight for them to be able to stay in the only home they have ever known.”

For Tomas Evangelista, a Dreamer who came to the United States as an infant, the DACA program has been transformative. His work permit has enabled him to pursue higher education and earn a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, and today Tomas works as a program manager for the nonprofit Latino Leadership Council, helping homeless Americans connect to the care they need.

“The DACA program changed my life. With DACA, I was able to graduate from California State University Stanislaus, give back to my community, pursue my dream of running track & field, and now work full time at a non-profit community organization,” said Central Valley DACA recipient Tomas Evangelista. “Barring renewals to the DACA program would force me from my job, and I would be made a priority for deportation. I hope Congress will pass a legislative solution that would allow hundreds of thousands of us Dreamers to continue contributing to our communities and serve the country we love and call home.”

DACA has unlocked countless economic opportunities for the nearly 800,000 young people across the United States, 200,000 of whom live in California. These individuals have been in the country since childhood, and have been able to live, work and contribute to their communities because of the work permit and temporary protection from deportation provided through the DACA program. In addition to accessing a work permit, DACA allows young Americans to obtain driver’s licenses, open bank accounts, pay taxes, enroll in college, take out mortgages and car loans, and better provide for their families. By any measure, program has been an overwhelming success, adding billions of dollars to the American economy since the five years it has been in place.

In California’s 10th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Denham, immigrants make up almost 20% of the population, pay $951.5 million in taxes annually, and possess annual spending power of $2.7 billion. In Stanislaus County alone, there are approximately 8,000 DACA-eligible individuals.

“We are deeply grateful for Congressman Denham’s extraordinary leadership to pass a bipartisan legislative solution to protect 800,000 hardworking Dreamers,” added Todd Schulte, President of FWD.us. “We urge his colleagues to join him in standing up for these incredible young people, so that DACA recipients can continue to live in the only country they know as home and make our economy and our communities stronger.”

FWD.us and Center for American Progress Introduce Report on DACA Impact on Jobs, Dreamers, and U.S. Economy

Posted by FWD.us Press on 08/29/2017

WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us and the Center for American Progress (CAP) today released a new report, “The Impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program Repeal on Jobs,” outlining the enormous job losses and far-reaching economic consequences that a repeal of DACA would bring about across the U.S.

With DACA facing the imminent threat of repeal, today’s report has brought to light the dramatic consequences to U.S. employers if DACA is repealed and renewals are put on hold, even for a brief period of time. New data outlined in the report details the chronological job loss consequences of repealing DACA, resulting in the potential for an average of 30,000 DACA recipients to lose their jobs each month. For every business day that DACA renewals are put on hold, an average of more than 1,400 individuals can be fired from their jobs. And because DACA recipients live in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, the economic consequences will be felt all across the country.

This data further shows that job loss resulting directly from the repeal of DACA will begin immediately, and will continue over the course of the next 2 years until all employed DACA recipients, nearly 700,000 individuals, are removed from the workforce, and all of the nearly 800,000 total recipients are subject to deportation. The weekly firings increase over the course of the next 2 years to reach a high point in the third quarter of 2018, when more than 11,000 individuals can be fired each week, a total of nearly 140,000 total individuals fired and removed from the U.S. workforce during that quarter. During the 3rd quarter of 2018, a DACA recipient can be fired from their job every 13 seconds.

Representatives from CAP and FWD.us, as well as a policy analyst from the Cato Institute, will join a press call to highlight the job loss impact, as well as the devastating overall economic consequences of a repeal of DACA.

“Eliminating DACA would have immediate and severe consequences for not only the 800,000 Dreamers enrolled in the program, but for the millions of Americans who live, work, and study with these young people every single day. Since its inception five years ago, the DACA program has been an incredible success, allowing 800,000 hardworking people to contribute billions to the American economy and become productive members of society. These Dreamers have all spent more than a decade living in the United States, and this country is their home. Our nation is better with Dreamers in it,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle should come together to pass a legislative solution that shields these young people from deportation and allows them to utilize their talents in the country where they grew up.”

“Whether the Trump administration pulls the plug on DACA immediately or condemns it to suffer a slow and painful death, the effects on the workforce will be devastating,” Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, added. “Over the next decade, the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients in the workforce today have the potential to generate more than $460 million in gross domestic product for our nation. Ending DACA is not only the wrong thing to do for young people who call America home, but it also means shrinking the pie for everyone.”

“Five years ago, just minutes before the DACA program was announced, I was sitting at my college graduation ceremony, undocumented, uncertain of what my future would look and how I would continue contributing to the country where I grew up. After submitting an extensive DACA application, including registering with the government and successfully passing a background check, I earned a temporary reprieve from deportation and a two-year work permit that transformed the trajectory of my life. Today, after five years as a DACA beneficiary, I have been able to purchase a home, buy a car, pay off tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, secure gainful employment, and launch a small business,” said Leezia Dhalla, a Dreamer and Communications Associate at FWD.us. “DACA has helped me achieve many professional goals, while enabling me to contribute to the economic well-being of my family and other Americans in need. After 21 years of living in the United States, I can say with confidence that this country is my home, and this is where I want to give back. We should continue finding opportunities to protect Dreamers and the DACA program, both because it makes economic sense, and because it’s simply the right thing to do.”

“There is absolutely no question that DACA has greatly benefited the U.S. economy. The opportunity to participate in lawful employment incentivizes investment in additional skills, which results in greater contributions to America’s economy. America could secure these benefits for decades to come by granting permanent residency to these young immigrants,” added David Bier, Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute.

U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, Colorado Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock Join Business and Community Leaders to Call on Congress to Protect Dreamers

Posted by FWD.us Press on 08/09/2017

Roughly 800,000 Dreamers facing uncertainty, risk of deportation as DACA program comes under attack

WASHINGTON, DC – Elected officials, business executives, and community leaders came together in Denver today to highlight the urgent threat of a repeal to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that allows nearly 800,000 young Dreamers who came to the U.S. as children and live, work, and contribute to our communities. Ten Republican states – led by Texas Attorney Governor Ken Paxton – have threatened to sue President Trump if he does not eliminate the DACA program by September 5th. Speakers at today’s press conference discussed the important contributions that Dreamers have made to the United States, the devastating impact of a potential DACA repeal, and the need for the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would create a legalization process for roughly two million hardworking young people who came here as minors.

Speakers at Wednesday’s press conference included U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, Colorado Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Metropolitan State University President Dr. Janine Davidson, FWD.us Communications Director Peter Boogaard and Jeff Wasden, President of the Colorado Business Roundtable. Marissa Molina and Marco Dorado, both Dreamers who call Colorado home, also shared the transformative impact of the DACA program on the lives of their families and their communities.

Colorado is home to more than 17,000 DACA recipients, most of whom are gainfully employed or enrolled in school. Beyond the devastating moral consequences, eliminating the DACA program would remove almost 800,000 workers from the U.S. workforce at a cost of $460 billion in national GDP lost over the next decade, and Colorado’s economy would lose a devastating $857 million dollars over the same period.

Below are quotes from program participants:

“For over 17,000 young aspiring Americans in Colorado, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program means the difference between openly living and thriving in the only country they have ever known as home, and hiding out in fear of deportation and forcible separation from their family and friends. These young aspiring Americans deserve a permanent solution, and Congress must act to immediately address the hardship experienced by these Dreamers. I want them to know that I am on their side, and will continue to advocate for the continuation of the DACA program, and for a permanent solution in Congress,” said U.S. Congressman Jared Polis. “DACA recipients are Americans, and they belong here.”

“In Colorado, immigrants have always been an integral part of the fabric our community, and we are better off when DREAMers pursue an education and contribute to our communities. DACA has been a benefit, both for DREAMers and for our state’s economy. After five years, we see people getting jobs, advancing in their careers, and working toward that American Dream we all share,”said Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne.

“Denver’s young people striving to achieve deserve the opportunity to do so right here in the home they grew up in,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “I cannot fathom an American system that would not provide that opportunity to immigrant youth. The DACA program embodies everything that this nation is built on, and to eliminate this program would not only devastate our families and communities but go against who we are as a country. So Colorado leaders today stand indivisible on this simple fact that we all succeed when our children succeed and to create an economy built for the future we must prepare all of our youth to contribute and compete.”

“The city of Aurora is very proud of our diversity, and as Mayor of one of the most diverse cities in the nation, I am not interested in sending Dreamers to ICE facilities or through the deportation process.  I believe Congress should focus its efforts on fixing the broken immigration system, and creating a path to legal status that is sensible, and neither punitive, nor extreme,” said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan. “Immigration should not be a partisan issue any more than repairing our infrastructure should be a partisan issue. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to find a solution. Quit the political drama and just fix it.”

“At MSU Denver, our values of diversity and access ensure we provide educational opportunity to all students, helping them find the key to giant locked doors. We want more students with the kinds of experiences that DACA students bring – not less,” said Metropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

“DACA recipients have spent the last five years playing by the rules, contributing to our economy and working to better their local communities,” said FWD.us Communications Director Pete Boogaard. “Today, these Dreamers are nurses who care for our sick and elderly, teachers educating the next generation of American leaders, engineers who build homes and hospitals, and entrepreneurs who employ native-born workers. They contribute to this nation in meaningful ways that support our economy and benefit not only their families, but the nation as a whole. Eliminating the DACA program would have devastating consequences for our nation, and for the 800,000 Dreamers who would no longer be able to live, work and contribute to the country they call home.”

“When my DACA application was approved and I received my work permit in January of 2013, the trajectory of my life completely changed: I had the opportunity to do things many of my friends and classmates took for granted such as obtaining a driver’s license, building my credit, and having the ability to accept paid internship opportunities at places such as the Colorado Legislature and Morgan Stanley,” said DACA recipient Marco Dorado. “In the last five years since DACA has been in place, I’ve been able to fulfill my goal of graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in finance and as Student Body President, begin my professional career, support my family, and contribute to my community. I have achieved the American Dream my parents sought for my siblings and me nearly 23 years ago, and all of it is due to DACA and the impact it has had on my life.”

“Just as the financial burden of attending college as an undocumented student was becoming too great to overcome, the DACA program was announced, changing my life dramatically. Thanks to the new work opportunities that were opened up to me, I was able to finish my college education at Fort Lewis College and be the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree,” said DACA recipient Marissa Molina. “I wanted to give back to my community and to the country that had given me so much so I joined Teach for America and became a high school teacher. As a teacher I worked tirelessly to create pathways of opportunities for young people in our communities.”

“The threats to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and our nation’s Dreamers, along with ill-thought-out, isolated legislation threaten to do more harm than good. Our immigration system is outdated, complex and broken. We need leadership from DC that creates significant, meaningful reform,” said Jeff Wasden, President of the Colorado Business Roundtable. “We need an immigration system that not only ensures our safety but also supports economic vitality, competitiveness, and cultural values. Using children who were brought here through no fault of their own as pawns in a political game devoid of strategy and leadership is not the right approach.

“Our economy demands that we reform our immigration system. Ending DACA would cost Colorado more than $856.9 million in annual GDP losses and it would further strain our labor market at a time of historically low unemployment,” said Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Our 2.3 percent unemployment rate creates more need than ever for an educated workforce and stronger workforce pipeline – and that includes the DREAMers who we have already invested in through our K-12 system. We need all of Colorado’s kids to get to and through a post-secondary education as well. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce supports not only DACA but every one of these kids who we want and need in our future workforce.”