To the editor:
As a business owner, one of my primary concerns is making smart decisions that benefit my employees and grow my business. One of the smartest decisions I have made is keeping my business here in Tennessee. The Volunteer State has earned a reputation as a fiscally responsible and business-friendly state. In fact, our business savvy is why Tennessee ranks among the states with the most people moving to it.
An important aspect of our economic success has been the contributions of our state’s immigrants, including the over 9,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients or Dreamers who call Tennessee home. DACA recipients make considerable contributions to our economic wealth, including nearly $24 million in state and local taxes annually and more than $345 million in total GDP contributions each year.
Unfortunately, politics in Washington are jeopardizing these important economic drivers. In 2017, the administration rescinded the DACA program, putting Dreamers at risk of separation from their homes, schools and jobs.
Now, two years later, Dreamers are still waiting for permanent protections. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments regarding the legality of the termination of DACA and could issue a decision as soon as January 2020 ending their temporary protections.
We need Congress to act. The House passed the Dream and Promise Act earlier this year, which would provide legislative certainty to Dreamers. But now the Senate, including Senators Alexander and Blackburn, need to act for the benefit of Dreamers and our state’s economy and communities.