Asheville Chamber joins other chambers in advocating bipartisan support for DACA

Press release from Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce:

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce united with 50 chambers from 23 states and signed an open letter that advocates bipartisan support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and permanent protection for Dreamers. These protections are intended to allow young immigrants in our communities and across the country to continue to pursue their education, contribute to our labor force and tax base, and start new businesses.

“The thousands of Dreamers here in North Carolina have grown up in this country and are major contributors to our economic success,” said Corey Atkins, the Asheville Chamber’s Vice President of Public Policy. “Congress must act to allow these hard-working young people to remain in our communities.”

Atkins was one of 15 Chamber executives from across the country who convened at the Global Talent Network (GTN) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah last month hosted by New American Economy, a public policy organization that focuses on bipartisan immigration reform. The Asheville Chamber is one of the founding members of the GTN, which is a Chamber-specific division of New American Economy.

“With the goal of leveraging immigration as an economic growth strategy, we compared notes and examined programs that would most benefit our business community,” said Atkins. “It became clear that training and reinforcing labor needs would prove critical to our local and national economy. Supporting our immigrant population is an important piece of that effort.”

This is true especially in Asheville, Atkins notes. According to the 2018 Business Walk survey, 26 percent of local businesses stated need for a higher availability of qualified personnel. Workforce availability was reported as an issue particularly for companies of 10 or more employees, with training being the largest obstacle for manufacturing, construction, and accommodations. The loss of immigrants would deal a significant blow to the local workforce and economy.

Moreover, a 2014 study by New American Economy reported that North Carolina has the seventh-highest population of young, undocumented immigrants in the nation and is one of the top 10 states in the nation where undocumented immigrants contribute the most in state and local taxes. Our state has 47,956 immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrant spending power equates to $17.1 billion. Without the contributions of those protected under DACA, North Carolina would lose $1.9 billion annually and in the next 10 years, our country’s GDP would decrease by $433 billion.

“We want to do the right thing for young people and the economy,” Atkins said. “Our hope is that a bipartisan solution will come out of Congress that allows Dreamers to stay, reforms our broken immigration system, and makes Asheville a more inviting and open community.”

Below is the full text of the open letter:

April 12, 2018

Dear Speaker Paul Ryan, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Leader Mitch McConnell, and Leader Charles E. Schumer,

As business leaders representing our nation’s most important industries and regional economies, we are committed to promoting economic growth and job creation for all Americans. From manufacturing to agriculture, and from Main Street to Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. economy relies on our diverse, talented workforce to drive the country forward. That is why we are calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to create permanent protections for Dreamers. These protections would allow young immigrants in our communities and across the country to continue to pursue their education, contribute to our labor force and tax base, and start new businesses that create jobs.

Nationwide, there are 1.3 million Dreamers — immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that the Trump administration terminated last September. The vast majority of them have graduated high school, and more than 90 percent speak English well or better. According to New American Economy, they collectively earn $19.9 billion in total income each year, and contribute more than $3 billion to federal, state, and local taxes that keep our metros moving. There are over 900,000 DACA-eligible individuals in our states combined, contributing over $1 billion in taxes each year. Which means that deporting them would not only be devastating to families, but also bad for our economy. Data from the Cato Institute estimated that deporting individuals with DACA status would cost the federal government over $60 billion, with an additional $280 billion in lost economic growth over the next decade. That is a scenario we simply cannot afford.

While federal court injunctions are keeping DACA on life support, the uncertainty around the program’s future is preventing our immigrant youth from realizing their potential—as future doctors, teachers, engineers, or entrepreneurs—to everyone’s detriment. There are several proposals to protect Dreamers in exchange for increased border security that have been introduced and have broad bipartisan support. A recent poll found that 80 percent of conservative and Republican voters—and 86 percent of President Trump’s base voters—also support this type of legislative solution. Yet Congress has repeatedly failed to turn this consensus into action.

As chambers of commerce, we cannot allow politics to stand in the way of economic growth. That is why two weeks ago 15 of the nation’s largest chambers of commerce convened in Salt Lake City to discuss the importance of immigration to our metro areas and build our agenda on this issue moving forward. But only Congress has the power to enact a real solution. We call on you to pass a bipartisan deal on Dreamers now. Our industries need that deal—and it will also lay the groundwork for the type of broader, common-sense reforms to our immigration system that we need to compete globally. It’s time for Congress to put politics aside and do the right thing for our young people and for our economy. Our businesses and our communities depend on it.


Ambos Nogales Hispanic Chamber

Ames Chamber of Commerce

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Asian Chamber of Commerce of Colorado

Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Colorado Asian Chamber of Commerce

Dallas Regional Chamber

Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

Douglas Hispanic Chamber

Dubuque Area Chamber

East Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Fresno Chamber of Commerce

Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Des Moines Partnership

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Greater Louisville Inc.

Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce

Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Maine State Chamber of Commerce

Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber

Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Pembroke Park/West Park Chamber of Commerce

Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce

Quad Cities Chamber

Salt Lake Chamber

Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce

Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce

Sierra Vista Hispanic Chamber

South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce

Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce

St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce

Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Tucson Hispanic Chamber

Weston Florida Chamber of Commerce

About the Chamber:

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member association of businesses and organizations. The Chamber and its members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to the Asheville Visitor Center which welcomes over 210,000 visitors per year.

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2 thoughts on “Asheville Chamber joins other chambers in advocating bipartisan support for DACA

  1. michele

    When will politicians learn that when you reward illegal immigration with jobs, drivers licenses, discounts in college tuition, scholarships encourages illegal entry. DACA recipients care about one thing, themselves. They have used billions of taxpayer dollars, American citizens have been victimized by the thousands by illegal aliens. But what matters to illegal aliens is getting as much as they can from any benefits they can get.

    Remember these “immigrants” have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars and could care less. There is an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the US. That is 800,000 jobs American Citizens dont have or will be in competition for. There not all picking strawberries they take great Jobs. Good enough jobs to buy homes put their kids through college. So when you hear of the contributions by illegal aliens paying taxes. Remember that also is at a cost in jobs citizens should have.…/uscis…/2018/01/22/id/838627/

    Just some of the costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children as has been passed on to us. We’ve been paying this for decades.

    *The CBO (congressional budget office) estimates it will cost American taxpayers 26 billion over the next 10 years if 1.8 million re legalized.

    *The cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the billions spent on bilingual education for illegal aliens.

    *Currently city, and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollars for legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being deported.

    *2012 illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting involved in our politics.

    *30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison U do the math.

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3 MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

    *$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) WIC, & free school lunches.All can be found on google.

    • michael

      Thanks, Michele, for providing the facts. Most of the American people agree with you. The monied forces supporting Open Borders are profiting from the continued inflow of illegals into our once great nation. They hate the USA, or see it as a profit opportunity without any regard for the future. Like Barry Obama, they are trying to fundamentally change our nation; sadly, they are succeeding. Those who celebrate with glee each advance of the illegal alien invasion will eventually experience the ill effects of bringing down a nation – the chaos and suffering (particularly among the poor and vulnerable) that will ensue will be harsh.
      Keep fighting, Michele!

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