Saturday, June 23, 2018
Opinion

Column: Congress should protect Dreamers for the good of Florida and the country

I was one of the Dreamers from across the country who recently went to Washington, D.C., with business leaders to urge lawmakers to pass the Dream Act or legislation like it before the end of the year. This crucial bill would permanently protect Dreamers from deportation and create a legislative solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, including an earned pathway to citizenship for hardworking young individuals who came here as children.

I walked through our nation’s Capitol to fight for not only what is right, but for what is best for the United States.

Named for the hoped-for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act, we Dreamers give a boost to the U.S. economy through spending and by paying billions of dollars in federal, state and local taxes. Ripping Dreamers out of the workforce will result in more than $460 billion in lost GDP over the next decade. On the other side of the coin, new estimates show that passing a Dream Act that creates an earned pathway to citizenship for Dreamers could add as much as $1 trillion to the national GDP over a decade.

With the passage of the Dream Act, Florida would have 117,000 immediate eligible workers who would contribute up to $4.1 billion every year to the state’s GDP. The construction sector in Florida will also be of utmost importance as the state recovers from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, and passing the Dream Act would add up to $416 million to the construction sector each year in Florida.

If Congress fails to pass a Dream Act, nearly 300,000 Dreamers will be ripped out of the American workforce within the first nine months after the March 5 deadline. The removal of all 800,000 Dreamers from the workforce would cost employers $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs. Contributions to Medicare and Social Security would also be cut by $24.6 billion over a decade.

New research by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, shows the consequences to the U.S. economy and the cost to the federal government if DACA were repealed. Cato indicated that the aggregate economic cost would be over $200 billion and the cost to the government would be $60 billion.

There are enough bipartisan votes to protect Dreamers in both the House and the Senate. Congress can include the bipartisan Dream Act in the year-end funding to provide an earned pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, which has the support of a majority in Congress and nearly 90 percent of Americans, including 80 percent of Republicans.

While in Washington, we emphasized that Congress must now decide whether it is going to allow Dreamers the chance to earn a path to citizenship by passing permanent legislation, or whether it is going to watch innocent lives being ripped out of their communities and deported to countries they may not even remember.

As a current student at Southeastern University finishing up my MBA and a creator of several initiatives helping to fill needs in the community in entrepreneurial ways, I am just one example of a DACA success story. I urge Congress to pass the Dream Act so that Dreamers can continue their contribution and stop living in fear.

Sayra Lozano, is a member of the FWD.us Florida coalition, a DACA recipient and a graduate student at Southeastern University.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18