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In a letter to lawmakers, the coalition of companies urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that enables more than 700,000 immigrants, known as "Dreamers," to legally work and live in the U.S. The letter ran Monday as a full-page ad in The New York Times.
"With the re-opening of the federal government and the presumptive restart of immigration and border security negotiations, now is the time for Congress to pass a law to provide Dreamers the certainty they need. These are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and they should not have to wait for court cases to be decided to determine their fate when Congress can act now," they wrote in the letter.
Immigration is one of the biggest sticking points between the parties as the government lurches toward another potential shutdown at the end of this Friday. President Donald Trump has been a big opponent of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allows young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children to stay and work in the country. Trump had proposed limited legal protections for "Dreamers" in exchange for money to build his proposed border wall, but Democrats quickly rejected the temporary solution as "inadequate."
Losing DACA workers would cost the economy $350 billion in GDP and $90 billion in tax revenue, the companies said in the letter.
"We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of Americans of all political backgrounds agree that we should protect Dreamers from deportation," the letter said. "American employers and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are counting on you to pass bipartisan, permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay."
Trump agreed on Jan. 25 to end a 35-day government shutdown, the longest such impasse in history, without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall. Congress has been working on a bill that addresses border security but is still stuck on several key issues. It has until end of day Friday to lock down the sticking points and strike a deal that could avoid another funding lapse, or pass another temporary spending bill.