Dear Members of Congress:
HIAS, the Jewish organization for global refugee protection and resettlement, urges you to cosponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017 (S.1615/H.R. 3440) and to support the passage of a clean bill without border security or enforcement provisions. There are 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth who are at risk of deportation and detention unless Congress acts.
For over 130 years, HIAS has helped millions of people from all over the world forced to flee their homes because of who they are and what they believe. Today, as the world’s oldest and only Jewish refugee resettlement organization, we help refugees find ways to live in safety and with dignity, and support policies that maintain America’s proud history of offering safe haven to the world’s persecuted and the Jewish tradition of “welcoming the stranger.”
Undocumented immigrant youth are American in all but paperwork, and they are now living in fear. In just a few months, they may not be able to legally work, and will face arrest, jail and deportation. These are kids who have gone to school, made friends, joined teams, grew up, enlisted in the military, went to college, went to work, volunteered and lived normal, American lives. This moment should feel scary, disturbing and eerily familiar to all Jewish Americans.
Roughly 91 percent of the 800,000 affected youth are employed. Stripping them of their legal status would cost an estimated $433 billion to the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) over the next 10 years. States will be particularly impacted as estimates of GDP loss for California are $11.3 billion a year, in Texas at $6.1 billion a year, and North Carolina at $1.9 billion a year.
The United States must not turn our backs on human beings. Protection for DREAMers must not include any conditions or trade-offs, or punish other immigrants. We must restore basic fairness and morality to the way we treat immigrants in this country, and there is no better place to start than with these young Americans. Please cosponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017 (S.1615/H.R. 3440) and support the passage of a clean bill.
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs