Tucson Opinion: Arizona’s Economic Recovery Depends On Dreamers | ab Local editorials and opinions
Immigration policy has long been a contentious issue in Arizona, but protecting the dreamers is a notable exception. A national poll by the Pew Research Center found that three-quarters of Americans – with a large majority in both political parties – support their offer for citizenship.
That’s no surprise. Nationwide, according to the New American Economy, more than 500,000 dreamers are indispensable workers, including 62,000 in health care.
In Arizona, an estimated 6,800 immigrant young adults temporarily protected under the Deferred Measures on Child Arrivals program have cared for our sickest COVID-19 patients, tutored our children during Zoom School, and year round our pandemic food wrapped up. Thousands more eligible for DACA have done the same.
We cannot afford to lose a single one of these workers. If our state is to achieve the Federal Reserve’s forecast economic growth of 6.5% this year, we desperately need it to help address our nationwide staff shortages in education, health care, mental health and construction, among other things.
We need the companies they start, especially since they are 15% more likely to become entrepreneurs than their American-born contemporaries. And we need the nearly $ 181 million they pay in federal, state, and local taxes.
Dreamers are embedded in our society at all levels. Here in Arizona, they are the parents of 10,400 children born in the United States. However, many have spent most of their lives without basic rights that we take for granted: the ability to get a driver’s license, pay tuition at our universities, or get a passport to visit grandparents in countries they hardly adhere to recall.