DACA and DAPA Will Boost Nevada's Economy

Posted on 04/27/2015

Nevada DACA DAPA

Expanded DACA and DAPA programs, as announced by the Obama administration, will boost Nevada’s economy and the U.S. economy as a whole. At full enrollment, approximately 63,000 people in Nevada could benefit from DACA or DAPA.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers found executive action on immigration reform will grow the U.S. economy by $90 billion to $210 billion over the next ten years.

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Photo via Shutterstock

Increasing Nevada’s labor force by 63,000 people will have significant impact on Nevada’s economy. DACA and DAPA in Nevada could generate $220.7 million in new labor income and $151.4 million in new tax revenue, according to findings by UCLA’s North American Integration and Development Center.

With the successful implementation of DACA and DAPA, Nevada’s own GDP will increase by $700 million to $1.7 billion over the next ten years. CEA also found DACA and DAPA will help raise average wages for U.S.-born workers by $170 a year.

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Click here to find out where your Representative stands on immigration. 

Tufts Will Admit, Offer Aid to Undocumented Students

Posted by Gillis Bernard on 04/22/2015

“As the daughter of undocumented immigrants, the undocumented immigrant rights issue is extremely personal, relevant, and a constant presence in my life. Most of my childhood I was aware of the fact that my family was different; however my parents never told me directly they were undocumented.” – Joanna D.

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Joanna D. is a sophomore student at Tufts University.

Joanna is a Tufts University sophomore from San Rafael, California. She is also one of the students behind the Somerville, Mass. school’s organization United for Immigrant Justice (UIJ). On Tuesday, April 7, UIJ led a public rally in solidarity with National Institutions Coming Out Day calling for education equality for undocumented students. Shortly after the demonstration, Tufts Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lee Coffin answered their cries with a big announcement: the university would from then on actively recruit undocumented applicants and treat them the same as domestic applicants – including the provision of 100 percent demonstrated need for financial aid.

What’s more, Tufts has implemented the new policy retrospectively; as of this post’s publishing, it has already led to the acceptance of at least five undocumented students for the Class of 2019.

Tufts’ change in admissions policy hits close to home for Joanna. While she was born in the United States and has legal citizenship, her mother and father are originally from Mexico and Guatemala, respectively – and both are undocumented.

This is Joanna’s story:

It wasn’t until high school that I realized my parents were undocumented. My father pressed me diligently to get a driver’s license, and when I applied to college, I couldn’t provide their social security numbers. These truths never worried me too much; I didn’t feel a constant fear of losing my parents until the summer of 2014. My father was in a car accident, and he was charged with a DUI and driving without a license. The fear of deportation suddenly became real; my whole life I never thought this would happen to my family. Due to this incident, I have learned and realized how emotionally and financially straining it is to find an immigration lawyer and go through the legal process.

My parents, although not perfect, are the greatest human beings. I not only see them as my parents, but also as survivors, hard workers, and fighters. Despite facing adversities, discrimination, and poverty, my parents have raised four children. My parents are the reasons why I fight for the rights of undocumented people. I was taught to stand up and speak up. I was taught to make a change. Tuft University’s United For Immigrant Justice has allowed me to fight for my parents, my undocumented friends, and community.

My UIJ peers and I come from different families, different communities, and different racial backgrounds. However, we have come together in hope of transforming Tufts into a DREAM school. The fight for undocumented immigrant rights requires everyone to critically analyze the U.S. immigration system and understand his or her own implications on the issue.

We hope that all people – regardless of geographical location, race, class, and gender – will realize that the fight for undocumented immigrants and students’ rights extends beyond Tufts University and other educational institutions. This issue is a part of our lives, and it will change the course of our lives and our nation.

Want to get involved in the fight for immigration reform? Find your FWD.us chapter now!

Boston Entrepreneur Brings his Immigration Story to Capitol Hill

Posted by Thomas Ketchell on 04/17/2015

Guest Writer: FWD.us Boston Chapter member and founder of Hstry Thomas Ketchell. 

It’s not everyday you get invited to speak to Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, so it was with nervous excitement that I flew to Washington D.C. this week with 14 other immigrant entrepreneurs to meet with legislators and their staff. We had a clear message going into these meetings: it’s well past time for legislative reform to ensure the best and brightest can come to the United States to build their businesses, contribute to the economy and create American jobs.

U.S. immigration policies are forcing foreign-born startup founders like me – with capital and employees – out of the country, effectively sending thousands of well paid high-skilled jobs overseas. I would much rather be here in the United States creating jobs, paying my taxes, and contributing to the innovation economy – and that’s exactly what I told the legislators I met with.

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Thomas, with other fly-in participants, before starting a long day of meetings with Members of Congress.

I was inspired by the 14 other immigrant founders I met, and it became clear that all of us had worked incredibly hard and made sacrifices to be able to stay in the United States. I met Eren Bali, a FWD.us chapter member in San Francisco who is the co-founder of Udemy – one the biggest names in online courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). By the end of 2015, Udemy is projected to employ 300 people, and it has created thousands of additional jobs for tutors who sell their online courses on Udemy’s platform. Unfortunately, Eren’s co-founder at Udemy was denied an H-1B visa and they had to take the company back to Turkey. As a consequence, they have no choice but to send the new people they hire to their offices in Turkey and Dublin. Eren has hopes of launching a new company in the U.S., but he’s worried about the broken visa system, and doesn’t know if starting another company will be worth it until the system is more friendly toward entrepreneurs.

Hstry’s CEO Thomas Ketchell being interviewed on the John Stossel show last year to discuss immigration issues for startups

Senator Orrin Hatch spoke at a press conference with the fly-in participants, and  highlighted this key message:

“America will face a shortage of more than 220,000 workers with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees by 2018. Canada comes down and advertises in Silicon Valley. I want to be clear: American companies have to look beyond our borders because we make it too difficult for them to be innovative, and it’s only because we don’t allow them to hire the high skilled labor they need to be competitive.”

Action needs to be taken and I hope my experience with direct advocacy will inspire you to start becoming an advocate for immigration reform. What amazes me about the whole experience of being in D.C. is how easy it was to access and speak to my representatives. You have a voice and they do listen. 

Click here to find out where your representative stands on immigration reform.

Special thanks to Rep. Capuano, Rep. Clark and Rep. Kennedy for their time and for listening to my story.  

The 11 Million Questions Facing GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Posted on 04/17/2015

As the Republican presidential primary hopefuls gather in New Hampshire this week and continue to introduce themselves to voters in the months ahead, few issues will say more about a candidate’s ability to compete and win the general election in November 2016, as well as his or her willingness to lead and level with the American people, than how he or she addresses the issue of immigration reform. Specifically, what is each candidate’s policy solution that addresses the more than 11 million people living here without legal documentation?

There should be no question at this point that Governor Romney’s comment about “self-deportation” at a 2012 primary debate seriously harmed his standing with the fastest-growing sector of the American electorate. While he was successful in attacking GOP opponents like Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on immigration during the primary, he lost the Hispanic vote in the general election by an even greater margin than in President Obama’s historic 2008 victory.

Yet more than three years later, the Republican Party still finds itself facing this same debate – and arguably, the stakes are even higher today than in 2012. As top GOP pollster Whit Ayres observed in the New York Times recently, unless the GOP’s next nominee is able to eclipse the 17% of the non-white vote that Governor Romney received, he or she will now need to win at least 65% of the white vote to win the general election.

Here is what we do know – almost without exception, every Republican presidential hopeful has made clear that we need to secure our borders, that we need to enforce the law, and that they oppose “amnesty.”

But while countless news articles have reported on any particular Republican stating his or her opposition to “amnesty,” virtually none of them have elaborated seriously on what that actually means, or how specifically that particular presidential hopeful would address the more than 11 million people currently living here without legal documentation.

What is notable, and what has arguably gone unnoticed in most reporting, is that no GOP presidential candidate has said that the government should arrest, process, and engage in the mass deportation of 11 million people. What that suggests is that they all know that is both a politically unpalatable position and an unrealistic policy position.

Which brings us back to the key question – what is “amnesty”? And how does that square with “enforcing the law”? After all, the law is quite clear: for those who came here illegally, the penalty is deportation for most cases. Yet again, not a single Republican candidate is calling for mass deportation.

One key reasons can be found in a new study released this month by former CBO Director and top conservative economist Doug Holtz-Eakin, whose American Action Forum estimated it would cost the federal government roughly $400 billion to $600 billion to apprehend, detain, legally process, and transport all 11 million undocumented immigrants back to their home countries. Further, the AAF study estimated that this would not only cost a massive amount of taxpayer dollars, but it would also greatly burden the economy. The labor force would shrink by 6.4%, and, as a result, in 20 years the U.S. GDP would be almost 6% lower than it would be without fully enforcing current law.

And as conservative columnist George Will correctly observed on ABC’s This Week back in 2011, deporting 11 million people “would require a line of buses bumper-to-bumper extending from San Diego to Alaska. That’s not going to happen. And as soon as people come to terms with that, then we get on to settling it.”

So the key question for Republican presidential hopefuls remains the same, and it will need to be answered in the months ahead – beyond taking long overdue steps to fully secure our borders, which all Republicans agree should be done, how specifically do they believe we should address the 11 million undocumented individuals currently living in the shadows within our borders? And if they support a policy of unilateral deportation, how specifically as President would they propose implementing that?

To their credit, Governor Jeb Bush, as well as Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham, have all publicly acknowledged the reality that we are not going to round up and deport 11 million people, and, therefore, that the federal government should ultimately implement a path toward legalization. And it was Senator Paul who also smartly observed the dilemma facing the Republican Party when he reportedly said last year, “amnesty is a word that’s trapped us.”

Even Senator Cruz has not endorsed an explicit policy of mass arrests and deportation, and in fact confirmed last week that he is open to a path toward legalization.

Which brings us back to our original question: what exactly is “amnesty” if nearly all the Republican presidential candidates support a path to legalization? Those who address this issue head-on, who communicate honestly with the American people, and who demonstrate a willingness to lead will be among those best positioned to try to win back the White House for Republicans in 2016.