CEOs urge Congress to pass legislation providing pathway to citizenship for Dreamers

29 Jul 21

UNITED STATES

Nearly 100 CEOs of some of the largest and most prominent American companies signed a letter to President Joe Biden and Congress today urging legislation to protect Dreamers.

“We strongly urge Congress to pass legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Securing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers not only is the right thing to do, but is a huge economic benefit to the United States,” the letter said.

Of the estimated 800,000 Dreamers – undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children who have registered and hold work authorization under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – about 700,000 are employed at U.S. companies.

The letter says that a recent court ruling that struck down DACA makes it more urgent than ever for Congress to pass legislation. The ruling is “devastating” to Dreamers and “throws into chaos” their ability to continue living and working in the U.S., says the letter, which was also signed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers. The letter will appear in a full-page print ad in the New York Times.

A federal court in Texas ruled earlier this month that the DACA program is unlawful and permanently barred its continued implementation for new applicants; it does not affect current DACA recipients. The government is appealing the ruling.

President Barack Obama introduced DACA through executive action. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that the Trump administration’s attempt to terminate DACA was unlawful. In a separate lawsuit challenging the DACA program itself, the court in Texas ruled this month that DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act because the Obama administration did not go through proper regulatory procedures when it created the program. The Department of Homeland Security is in the process of proposing a regulation to protect the DACA program, but only Congress can legislate permanent relief for Dreamers.

BAL Analysis: Several bills in Congress provide for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. While it is too early to tell whether any of the bills will pass, they have received bipartisan support in the past and today’s letter to Congress indicates strong support for Dreamers among the country’s top business leaders.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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