The St. Louis Regional Chamber supports policies that allow our region to compete successfully in a global economy, enhance our opportunities for business creation, recruitment and expansion, enable us to attract and retain a highly-skilled and diverse workforce, and foster an inclusive business community.
That’s why we strongly opposed the decision by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has helped thousands of young people in Illinois and Missouri pay their way through school, contribute to our region’s workforce, start new businesses that create jobs, and have the opportunity to call St. Louis home.
Immigrants contribute a huge amount to our American economy. In 2014, they earned approximately $1.25 trillion dollars and paid $328 million in state, local and federal taxes. They are twice as likely as native-born citizens to start a new business, and those firms employ 5.9 million workers.
90% of the DACA-eligible population over the age of 16 is employed. That works out to around 700,000 workers at all sorts of business across the country. They are contributing to our economy, and to our economic growth. We agree with the U.S. Chamber that terminating their employment eligibility runs contrary to the president’s goal of growing the U.S. economy.
We understand the frustrations associated with our nation’s broken immigration system, and support comprehensive reforms at the federal level to address this issue. However, we do not support policies that would penalize young people who were brought to our country as children through no fault of their own. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act that will allow this population to stay in the U.S. and continue contributing to our workforce. Our future success depends on it. Let’s work together to keep St. Louis’ economy strong.