Today, GLI is joining with business and civic leaders from across the country in calling on Congress to make sure that individuals protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, are allowed to continue contributing to our workforce and living in our communities without fear of detainment or deportation.
DACA has proven to be a crucial component of GLI’s strategy of growing our regional economy by building a globally competitive workforce. First enacted in 2012, DACA grants to qualified undocumented individuals who come to the U.S. as minors a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. The program establishes strict eligibility requirements, and since its enactment approximately 800,000 individuals have applied for DACA and met those requirements—that includes more than 3,000 in Kentucky and Greater Louisville. An overwhelming majority of DACA recipients—or Dreamers—are either working or in school. Some are even doing both.
DACA’s future, however, has recently become uncertain. Without action from Congress, the Greater Louisville region stands to lose thousands of young, motivated workers and millions of dollars in annual tax revenues—all at a time when our workforce participation rate lags behind national averages and budgets are becoming increasingly strained.
This week, GLI stressed these points in an op-ed published in Insider Louisville and in letters to our representatives in Congress in anticipation of today’s national call to action on DACA. As we stated in both, making sure that Dreamers are able to continue living and working in our communities without fear of detainment or deportation is pro-growth, pro-business public policy. Congress needs to act now to address this issue so that regions like Greater Louisville can grow their economies and build a globally-competitive workforce.