Small Business Letter to Congress: The Dream Act and Temporary Protected Status

December 19, 2017

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader

United States Senate

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Chuck Schumer, Democratic Leader

United States Senate

322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House

United States House of Representatives

1233 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader

United States House of Representatives

233 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Re: The Dream Act and Temporary Protected Status

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi,

Main Street Alliance, a network of over 30,000 small business owners throughout the country, strongly urges expeditious passage of a clean Dream Act into law, protecting young immigrants who were granted Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.  We also urge continuation of legal protections for immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  The small business community in particular has benefited from the contributions of DACA and TPS recipients, and work authorization has enabled immigrants to become small business owners and employees, and higher wages have enabled them to become small business customers, boosting local and national economic growth.

Since 2012, the DACA initiative has provided 800,000 immigrant youth with temporary protection from deportation and renewable work permits.  One of DACA’s most critical features is the work authorization it provides recipients.  Work authorization is critical to helping DACA recipients fully participate in the labor force, and has enabled DACA recipients to start their own businesses.  A survey conducted by the Center for American Progress of DACA recipients found that they are starting small businesses at a higher rate than the general population.  Five percent of respondents became small business owners after receiving DACA, compared three percent of the general population.  

Overall, 87 percent  of DACA recipients are currently employed, and many have found employment in small businesses.  Small businesses thrive when they are able to hire skilled and committed employees, regardless of immigration status, and many of these employees are DACA recipients.  Ending DACA would cause businesses to incur at least $3.4 billion in turnover costs.

DACA has also had a significant positive impact on wages.  The average hourly wage of recipients increased by 69 percent after receiving DACA.  As DACA workers earn higher wages, they purchase more goods and services from small businesses and helping to fuel economic growth.  Small businesses rely on a strong economy to provide a robust and sustainable customer base. Without DACA, U.S. gross domestic product would be reduced by $433.4 billion over the following 10 years.  

As DACA recipients receive higher wages, they also pay more in taxes, increasing local, state and federal tax revenues.  Ending DACA would reduce contributions to Social Security and Medicare by $24.6 billion over the next decade.  As wages disappear and tax revenue dries up, the ripple effect of slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs from the economy would hit Main Street small businesses hard.

TPS recipients also significantly contribute to the U.S. economy.  Most TPS recipients are from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, and if they were removed from the labor force, the country would lose $164 billion in GDP over the next 10 years.  Terminating TPS for these three countries would also result in a $6.9 billion loss to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade.  Finally, businesses would experience nearly $1 billion in turnover costs.

There is no question that ending DACA and TPS for will destroy lives and tear apart families and communities, but it would also devastate the national economy and small businesses.  DACA and TPS recipients are small business owners, small business employees and small business customers.  On behalf of the thousands of Main Street small business owners we represent, we urge you to pass a clean Dream Act into law, ensuring legal protections for young immigrants, and continue legal protections for individuals with Temporary Protected Status.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. We look forward to working with you. For questions, please contact Sapna Mehta, Legislative Policy Director, at sapna@mainstreetalliance.org.

Signed,



Amanda Ballantyne

National Director

Main Street Alliance

 

cc:

Members of the United States House of Representatives

Members of the United States Senate



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