Opinion: US Immigration Policies Harm Economy


Texas is where businesses thrive, and the Lone Star State is well-known as a welcoming business environment for entrepreneursand home to some of the nation’s most critical industries.

The success of our state’s renowned business and tradecommunity is a direct result of the unwavering commitment by theTexas labor force, including the foreign-born population thatincreases our competitive advantage while driving economicgrowth. Maintaining a robust and diverse workforce, however,requires lawmakers to enact policies that ensure our state’seconomy can be a well-oiled machine – this includes immigration policy.

Unfortunately, our immigration policies are failing us, as recentlyevidenced by a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against theDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. This decisionwill have detrimental effects on our workforce unless Congressintervenes.

The court’s decision in State of Texas v. USA that the DACA policy isunlawful – while allowing for current enrollees to continuerenewing their statuses – brings devastating impacts to Texans and

families who are already working overtime to recover from the pandemic in addition to supply chain woes and rising inflation. DACA provides work authorizations for 101,000 Dreamers in Texas so they can find employment opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them. It also extends temporary deportation protections so they can live, work, and build lives with certainty.

Most importantly, the court’s ruling sets the DACA policy up for ongoing legal action. Without a solution from Congress, Texas could see 5,000 jobs vacated each month and 1,000 U.S. citizens could see their spouse subjected to deportation risk each month for the next two years. The U.S. economy could suffer from as much as $11.7 billion in lost wages annually from previously employed DACA recipients, equating to roughly $1 billion a month.

More broadly, federal immigration policy has failed to keep up with today’s labor demands. There are currently 11.2 million jobs open in the U.S. with only half as many workers available to fill them. With appropriate policy changes that expand opportunities for immigrants to have certainty in their personal and professional lives, we could put more workers on the job and create a robust recovery along with it. Failing to do so could lead to the U.S. sacrificing its position as the world’s largest economy by 2030 and leaving the reserves of vital programs – like Social Security – depleted by 2034.

Further, the future of Texas-led innovation relies heavily on high-skilled workers, and today, over a quarter of STEM workers in the state are immigrants who hold high-tech jobs and lead next-generation innovation. Meanwhile, essential industries, including more labor-intensive fields such as agriculture and manufacturing, also rely on a robust labor force and are starving for workers. Today, more than 3.4 million immigrants are employed in industries experiencing some of the highest labor shortages, including accommodation and food services as well as construction and other labor-intensive jobs in agriculture, construction, farming, and ranching.

While bipartisan immigration reforms are needed, solutions must urgently be enacted to alleviate some of the pressure on our workforce as well as the immigrant community. Today, it is

imperative Congress establishes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers before the end of the year.

Together, we are constantly working to improve the economic vitality of the regions we serve and support collaboration on critical issues that impact all Texans – and we cannot sit back while the immigration system impedes on today’s growth and future business development.

Texas needs legal immigrants. Our leaders in Congress must find a permanent solution for Dreamers before the repercussions of inaction imperil our economy. We will continue working with our members, communities, and elected officials until the job is done.

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