‘Dreamers’ Are Key Contributors to U.S. and Indiana’s Economy – Indianapolis Business Journal


Indiana’s thriving economy would not be thriving without the support of hard-working Hoosiers who propel our workforce, including more than 300,000 immigrants who possess a certain quality that makes them a workforce. flourishing: ambition.

Ambition is what drives many immigrants today to seek their version of the American dream. Take Perla Alamillo, who came to America with her family when she was 5 and now works as a registered nurse at Indiana University Health University Hospital in the surgical intensive care unit. Despite setbacks on her path to success, she persevered and created a better life for herself and her family.

There’s another piece of Perla’s story that more than 10,000 other Indiana immigrant residents can relate to: She is a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — or DACA.

These people, often referred to as “Dreamers,” came to the United States with their families as children and often knew of no other place to live. They have work authorization and other protections from the DACA policy that was enacted just over a decade ago. Without DACA, hundreds of thousands of immigrants would lose the ability to continue living and working in America.

Unfortunately, their worst-case scenario may soon become a reality, as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that the DACA program as originally implemented is illegal. This decision puts all DACA recipients in limbo and their future at risk.

As COO of a landscaping company headquartered in Indiana, I know firsthand the need for hardworking, capable people to fill critical gaps in workforce. In addition, I am chairman of the board of the Indiana Outdoor Management Alliance. We represent the political interests of industry associations such as the Indianapolis Landscape Association, Indiana Professional Lawn and Landscape Association, Indiana Irrigation Contractors Council, and Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association.

Companies in our industry represent hundreds of small businesses and thousands of jobs across the state. The damage caused by the sudden loss of thousands of employees due to this recent court ruling will hit our industry particularly hard, and its effects will undoubtedly be felt in all sectors of our state’s economy. A recent report says 22,000 jobs nationwide would be lost every month for two years if the DACA policy were to be terminated – jobs that need to be filled to keep our businesses afloat and our economy strong.

DACA recipients — and all of the “dreamers,” which includes anyone who was brought to the United States illegally as children by their families — pay taxes, frequent our businesses and restaurants, and generally play an important role in our economic success. In Indiana alone, ending DACA would result in annual GDP losses estimated at $516 million.

Without a permanent legislative fix from Congress, the consequences of losing DACA could become a reality. It concerns me not only for the landscaping industry to which I have dedicated my career, but for all industries in Indiana should we be faced with the loss of a significant contributor to our workforce. statewide work. I know I’m not alone in having this concern: Most Americans support an earned path to citizenship for various categories of immigrants without permanent legal status, including “dreamers.”

Today, I encourage the senses. Todd Young and Mike Braun to work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reinvigorate negotiations and establish a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and all “dreamers”, before it’s too late.•


Perdue is Chairman of the Board of the Indiana Outdoor Management Alliance and Chief Operating Officer of the Engledow Group.

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