The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation strongly opposes plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which enables 800,000 young people to study and work in the United States without fear of deportation.
Often called “dreamers,” the youth enrolled in DACA were brought here as children; for many, America is the only country they’ve ever known. Rescinding protections would tear apart families and communities, and plunge young people into unfamiliar and potentially life-threatening environments. These risks will drive immigrants further into the shadows, endangering America’s economy and public safety.
DACA participants work, study and worship beside us. They even serve in our armed forces, guarding the freedom of a country apparently unwilling to guard theirs. The program enjoys overwhelming, bipartisan support. One new poll found 76 percent of Americans would like participants to stay in the country permanently.
Dreamers contribute mightily to our economy. Without them, the United States stands to lose more than $460 billion in gross domestic product over the next decade. With a booming population of newcomers, the South owes much to immigrants, who keep many rural communities afloat. In the 11 states where MRBF works, nearly 95,000 people participate in DACA. Removing those workers would wipe out an estimated $4.3 billion from the Southern economy every year, research shows.
Policy measures like repealing DACA, banning travel from majority Muslim countries, increasing immigration raids, rejecting asylum seekers and erecting a border wall further divide an already polarized nation. The rhetoric surrounding these actions inflames xenophobia and stigmatizes those who came here to improve their lives and those of their children.
The Babcock Foundation believes immigrants make the South stronger. We stand for the quintessentially American values of opportunity, equity and inclusion. We stand with those who fight for the protections, rights and dignity of all Southerners, and we stand with the dreamers.