Hispanic Chamber of Commerce calls for permanent DACA solutionHouston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce • Jan 29, 2018
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce calls for permanent DACA solution
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce urged Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and the state's congressional delegation Monday to find a permanent solution protecting young immigrants in the country illegally.
Their City Hall press conference comes as President Donald Trump is set to deliver his state of the union Tuesday and is expected to address the issue, which has roiled Congress in recent weeks, spurring a brief government shutdown and leaving it at an impasse.
Trump last fall rescinded the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that gave about 700,000 so-called dreamers temporary work permits. If Congress doesn't come up with a solution by March, they would lose their ability to work legally and risk being deported back to countries many of them hardly remember.
Laura Murillo, who heads the nation's largest Hispanic chamber, emphasized the economic contributions of such youth, noting that there are some 70,000 in the Houston area alone.
Scrapping their work permits would cause a loss of more than $2 billion in annual economic activity in the greater Houston region and more than $6 billion in the state, she said, citing studies by the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank in Washington D.C.
"This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is a people issue," Murillo said. "These are not political pawns."
She particularly called on Cornyn, who is leading a group of moderates in the Senate to try hammer out a compromise. As mediator, he's in immigration meetings three times a day, including sessions last week with Trump and moderates led by Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip, and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. Now numbering about a dozen senators from both parties, the group has asked Cornyn and Durbin to serve as a sounding board for proposals.
"Be a leader, not a dream devastator," Murillo asked Cornyn.
She noted that polls show more than 80 percent of the American public support allowing such youth to legally stay and that about three-quarters of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies such as Apple and Amazon employ immigrants with such work permits.
The mayor said enabling such youth to keep working is particularly important to Houston, which recently lost a bid to have Amazon open its second headquarters here. Two of the issues the company cited as important were diversity and a skilled workforce, Turner said. "This is a City of Houston issue," he said. "We are trying to stay competitive ... it is important for us to hold on to our talent."
As published by the Houston Chronicle http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/article/Hispanic-Chamber-of-Commerce-calls-for-permanent-12534568.php#photo-14960558