Pass legislation that ensures permanent protection for Dreamers
This op-ed also appears in The Indianapolis Star.
In the wake of President Biden’s inauguration, leaders of both political parties have called for unity to help us heal and move beyond the actions that have divided people across our country in recent years.
For me, unity means bringing diverse people together to create communities that are more economically and socially vibrant, and inclusive and welcoming to all people.
As the leader of Cummins Inc., a Fortune 150 global power leader that has been headquartered in Southern Indiana for more than 100 years, I have seen firsthand how diversity drives innovation, creates jobs and raises the quality of life in the cities and towns where our employees live and work.
Our company and our communities have benefited from the addition of hard-working, talented, and energetic people with new skills and experiences. Immigration has been a driver of economic growth, new talent and more vibrant communities.
The U.S. can demonstrate our commitment to unity by embracing the power of diversity and inclusion and supporting policies that provide opportunities for all people to prosper.
From infrastructure like railroads to innovations like the N95 mask, for generations our country’s success has been driven by contributions from immigrants who have used their talent, hard work, skills and experiences to build our country.
Immigration has helped grow our resilient economy since the founding of the U.S., and we as citizens have benefited from it, but the system is broken and urgently needs reform.
I realize that not everyone shares these views – but nearly all of us who lead organizations, both big and small, know the overwhelmingly positive effect that immigration has had on our companies and our communities.
I strongly urge the Administration and Congress to take one immediate and decisive step to unify our country. Start by passing legislation that ensures permanent protection for “Dreamers” or codifies the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
President Biden has already issued an executive order to “preserve and fortify” DACA, but additional legislative action is required to provide a pathway to citizenship.
Dreamers, including many who work for Cummins, have built careers, raised families and contributed to U.S companies, universities and communities. According to the National Immigration Forum, over the next 10 years, Dreamers who have DACA will contribute an estimated $433.4 billion to our economy and $12.3 billion to Social Security and Medicare if they can continue to work legally in the U.S.
Congress will have significant debate as we work toward comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration reform is a major challenge and needs broad congressional support to ensure that the solution is sustained over the long term.
However, as an urgent and interim and unifying measure, let’s focus on something on which we all can agree - we need to do right by Dreamers. They arrived on our soil as children and have done nothing wrong.
They are Americans. They’ve grown up here, attended school and are significant contributors to our economy and society; some have even served our country in the military. Let’s remove the fear and uncertainty now and put them on a path to citizenship.
We need an immigration system that works for U.S. families, grows our economy, and strengthens communities by welcoming immigrants who seek to contribute as critical partners of our society. As we set our sights on comprehensive immigration reform, let’s take action now on DACA. This has broad public and bipartisan support and it can only benefit us all. We also believe this is the right thing to do.
We call on the incoming Administration and new Congress to begin the healing by enacting DACA, permanently protecting Dreamers and reshaping our immigration system into one that works for everyone. If we do this, not only will we signal that we are one country, we will also provide a catalyst for job creation and economic growth that can put America on the path for prosperity and unity.