Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. joined elected officials, faith leaders and Justice for Our Neighbors in signing the following letter to be presented to federal officials as they drew near a decision on continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
We, the undersigned governors, statewide constitutional officers, mayors, state legislators, local elected officials, law enforcement professionals, and faith and civic leaders are united in declaring that we are with Dreamers and DACA recipients. We recognize their enormous role in our communities and families and their contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.
Since June 2012, nearly 800,000 of these young people who came to the United States as children have come forward, passed background checks, and received permission to live and work in America. With DACA, they have advanced their education, started small businesses, and more fully established themselves as integral members of our society.
Ending DACA means all of these young people would be at risk of deportation and separation from their families and our communities; this would be senselessly cruel.
Ending DACA and removing hundreds of thousands of young men and women from our workforce also would cost the country an estimated $460.3 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product over a decade and tens of billions more in lost contributions to Medicare and Social Security, and force businesses to incur $3.4 billion in turnover costs.
In late June, attorneys general from ten states threatened to sue the Trump Administration if it does not end DACA; twice that number wrote to encourage the administration to maintain and defend the initiative. We urge President Trump to sustain his commitment and preserve DACA. We also encourage President Trump and Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enact legislation that replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for Dreamers. The recently introduced stand-alone Dream Act of 2017 would do that and we support it.
As the leaders of communities across the country—individuals and institutions that have seen these young people grow up in our communities—we recognize how they have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations, and families. We believe it is a moral imperative that the administration and the country know we are with them. We also join together to send our assurances to Dreamers: we see you, we value you, and we are ready to defend you.