Mayor Rahm Emanuel and mayors from across the country today sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program until Congress modernizes the immigration system and provides a more permanent form of relief for the close to one million young people who were brought to the United States before they were 16.
“Ensuring DREAMers can continue to live and work in their communities without fear of deportation is the foundation of sound, responsible immigration policy. Ending DACA would disrupt the lives of close to one million young people, and it would disrupt the American economy, as well as our national security and public safety,” said Mayor Emanuel in the letter to Trump. “We encourage your Administration to demonstrate your commitment to the American economy and our security by continuing DACA until Congress modernizes our immigration system and provides a more permanent form of relief for these individuals.”
The DACA program helps ensure that qualified undocumented youth can seek higher education, work and engage in military service without fear of deportation. Youth who were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; came to the U.S. before reaching their 16th birthday; have lived in the US continuously for five years; and are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; who have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors of any kind; and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety; may apply through the program for temporary deferred action and work authorization.
Nearly 742,000 youth have participated in DACA since the program began in 2012.
In addition to citing the disruption to countless lives of youth across the country, the Mayors also cautioned the incoming Administration about the economic impact that would come with the eliminating DACA.
According to the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), eliminating the program would lead to the loss of $9.9 billion in tax contributions over the next four years and would wipe away at least $433.4 billion from the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade.
According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, eliminating the program would lead to the loss of $24.6 billion in payroll tax contributions over the next ten years and would wipe away at least $433.4 billion from the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade, according to the Center for American Progress.
Mayors signing the letter included: Mayor Megan Barry of Nashville, TN; Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, NY; Mayor Jorge Elorza of Providence, RI; Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, CA; Mayor Michael B. Hancock of Denver, CO; Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, MN; Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, PA; Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, CA; Isiah Leggett County Executive, Montgomery County, MD; Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, CA; Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle, WA; Former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, MD; Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, M0; Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, AZ; Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, TX; and Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston, MA.
The letter is the latest in a series of actions the Emanuel Administration has taken to remind all residents that they are welcome in the City of Chicago.
Yesterday, Mayor Emanuel joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez in launching the new “Chicago is With You,” task force that is collaborating on mental health, legal services, employer communications, and education policies to ensure the City is delivering comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees and other disenfranchised communities.
Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the creation of a Legal Protection
Fund, pledging $1 million to start the fund that will integrate legal support from attorneys with community navigators rooted in Chicago's many ethnic communities to provide outreach, education and assistance to immigrant families across Chicago.
The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Board of Trustees also adopted a resolution affirming the college system's status as a Welcoming Campus, which protects students from discrimination or harassment based on immigration status.
Since taking office, Mayor Emanuel has launched a series of initiatives that improve the immigrant community’s access to services, expand new and existing immigrant businesses, and welcome and celebrate Chicago’s diverse immigrant communities. These initiatives include launching the Cities for Citizenship Campaign with the Mayors of New York City and Los Angeles, which has grown into a bipartisan effort which works with 30 City and county leaders across America.