We Stand with the DREAMers

Los Angeles, CA - LEAP, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to uncapping talent in the Asian and Pacific Islander community, is deeply disappointed with the announcement to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The end of this program will mean that over 800,000 young and talented people (DREAMers), many who are friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors, will be pushed back into the shadows, forcing them to abandon their dreams and depriving us all of their full potential.

The DREAMers represent what the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute calculated to be a $280 billion boost to the US economy over the next ten years. In a recently released national survey of DACA recipients by UC San Diego Associate Professor Tom K. Wong, 91% of respondents are currently employed and at least 72% of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients. Five percent (5%) have started their own businesses and this number climbs to eight percent (8%) for those over 25 years and older. According to the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, immigrants are more likely, at nearly double the rate, than native-born Americans to start their own business. Additionally, researchers at the Wellesley Center for Women and Harvard Business School have found that immigrants coming to the U.S. as children are more likely to start larger firms that employ more people than immigrants arriving as adults. The fiscal cost of deporting DREAMers is estimated to be over $60 billion.

As a Country, we gain more than we lose with immigrants – economically, culturally, socially. Thus, this is not an Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, African, Caribbean, European or diversity issue. This is a leadership issue. The next several months present an opportunity for all Americans to lead with their values and remind our leaders in Congress that 78% of registered voters believe DREAMers should be able to stay in the U.S. while pursuing legal avenues to citizenship or residency. As recent events in Houston have shown us, there is strength in communities that come together, regardless of their differences, during times of need. We look to Congress to emulate the people of Houston by coming together and finding a solution to this long overdue challenge.

We stand with the DREAMers.

Linda Akutagawa
President & CEO