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America's Biggest Companies Push for Path to Citizenship for ‘Dreamers'

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
  • America's biggest companies urged Congress on Wednesday to establish a permanent path to citizenship for "Dreamers" — undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
  • The move comes as President Biden and Democrats in Congress look to immigration as one of their next major legislative priorities.
  • Democrats on Feb. 18 unveiled a comprehensive immigration reform package backed by Biden that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
  • The sweeping legislation faces an uphill battle in Congress, but the Dream Act could garner support as a stand-alone bipartisan bill.

America's biggest companies urged Congress on Wednesday to establish a permanent path to citizenship for "Dreamers" — undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

The move comes as President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress look to immigration as one of their next major legislative priorities.

In a letter, a coalition of more than 100 companies and trade associations asked Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2021.

Members of the Coalition for the American Dream and signatories of the letter represent every major industry in the country, including Facebook, General Motors, Marriott, Target, Visa and Uber.

"Continued delay or inaction will cause significant negative economic and social impact on businesses and hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country," the coalition said in the letter first seen by CNBC.

Democrats on Feb. 18 unveiled a comprehensive immigration reform package backed by Biden that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants with an expedited process for Dreamers.

The sweeping bill faces an uphill battle in Congress as Democrats hold thin majorities in both chambers. The legislation would require a minimum of 10 Republican votes to defeat a Senate filibuster and move the bill to a final vote.

The White House and the bill's sponsors acknowledge the possibility of a piecemeal approach to passing immigration legislation. Lawmakers and advocates point to the Dream Act as a potential stand-alone bill that could garner bipartisan support.

The bill was introduced in 2001 and reintroduced on Feb. 4 by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. It would provide a pathway to permanent legal residence and eventually citizenship for some young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

In 2012, President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program after the Dream Act failed to pass in Congress several times. DACA protects the young undocumented immigrants who would be covered by the Dream Act from deportation but does not provide a path to citizenship.

DACA recipients working at some of the companies in the coalition are also meeting virtually with Senators and staff on Wednesday to push for support of the Dream Act. 

About three-quarters of Americans support granting permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, according to a Pew Research Center survey in June.

— CNBC's Ylan Mui contributed to this report.

Read the letter and the list of signatories below:

Dear Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell:

The Coalition for the American Dream is an organization of business leaders representing every major sector of the U.S. economy and more than half of American private sector workers.  

Our more than 100 top companies and trade associations also proudly employ thousands of Dreamers who were brought to this country as children and raised as Americans.  As you know, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently reintroduced the bipartisan Dream Act of 2021 (S.264) which would provide a permanent legislative solution for these young people and end the limbo they have been in for years.  If passed, this bill would give them the long-overdue opportunity to apply for lawful permanent resident status and eventually citizenship if they continue to meet certain requirements.  

This important legislation has our strong support and we ask that you and your colleagues consider and pass it in the immediate weeks ahead.  Poll after poll has shown that overwhelming majorities of Americans in both political parties support Dreamers.  They are critical members of our workforce, industries, and communities, and they have abided by the laws and regulations of our country in order to qualify under the conditions set forth in the Dream Act.  They are vital to our nation's strength, especially now when tens of thousands of them are currently working as essential front-line personnel fighting COVID-19. 

Studies by economists across the ideological spectrum also have determined that if Congress fails to act, our economy could lose $350 billion in GDP, and the federal government could lose $90 billion in tax revenue.  Continued delay or inaction will cause significant negative economic and social impact on businesses and hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country. 

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration, and we hope you will work together to move this important bipartisan legislation.  

Respectfully,

The Coalition for the American Dream

National Retail Federation

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

National Association of Manufacturers

National Council of Chain Restaurants

Hilton

Levi Strauss & Co

Target

Hyatt

Best Buy

IBM

Mars

Cummins

Cisco

Apple

Exelon

General Motors

Facebook

Microsoft

Visa

TechNet

Marriott International

Verizon

American Hotel & Lodging Association

InterContinental Hotels Group

Ikea

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Johnson & Johnson

The Association of Chief Human Resource Officers

HP

Intel

Warby Parker

Ernst & Young

Dropbox

Amazon

eBay

Spotify

Salesforce

Adobe

Intuit

Postmates

FWD.us

Uber

PayPal

Molson Coors

Chobani

Host Hotels & Resorts

MGM Resorts International

Google

Accenture

Edison International

Consumer Technology Association

Airbnb

Box

Lyft

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories

DoorDash

Shutterstock

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Micron

Sonos

Tumblr

Nielson

BPC Action

Starbucks

Gap Inc.

Essential Worker Immigration Coalition

Upwork

Year Up

Slack

Thumbtack

Square

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

StichCrew

American Council on Education

Univision

NextRoll

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

TPG

Society for Human Resource Management

Ferrara

Tripadvisor

Glassdoor

National Milk Producers Federation

Wise

Western Union

ServiceNow

Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association

Foossa

Survey Monkey

Latinx Startup Alliance

Information Technology Industry Council

Sutter Health

sf.citi

Council for Global Immigration

CareerForce

National Imigration Forum

F5

Graham Holdings

Red Ventures

Clever

Indiegogo

National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals

Association of American Universities

American Immigration Lawyers Association

General Assembly

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

TESOL International Association

Neustar

Niskanen Center

Wasserman & Associates

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