We, the undersigned governors, attorneys general, statewide constitutional officers, mayors, state legislators, and local elected officials, are united in our belief that the time has come for Congress to provide permanent protection and a path to citizenship for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These individuals and their families play an integral role in our communities, and make important contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.
In states and localities throughout this great country, Dreamers and TPS holders are helping to build a better America. Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative was created in 2012, more than 800,000 immigrant youth have had an opportunity to transform their lives and to help transform the lives of so many people around them. On average, these young people came to the country at age 6, and are for all intents and purposes our fellow Americans. Similarly, the average TPS holder has lived in this country for 22 years, contributing in many ways including raising families, growing small businesses, and working in critically needed occupations--the vast majority of that time with lawful permission to remain and work in the country. Between them, DACA recipients and TPS holders have nearly 500,000 U.S. citizen children and many hundreds of thousands of other U.S. citizen relatives who depend upon them just as we depend on our own friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
Because of actions taken during the first two years of the Trump administration (and but for preliminary court injunctions that currently provide temporary protection to a subset of these individuals), these members of our communities face an uncertain future which could mean losing their ability to work lawfully, being separated from their families, and ultimately being deported from the place they call home. This would be senselessly cruel and also horribly counterproductive to the interests of our communities, our states, and our country.
As the leaders of states and communities across the country, we recognize how Dreamers and TPS holders have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations, and families. We believe it is a moral imperative that Republicans and Democrats in Congress work together to enact bipartisan legislation that replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for these individuals. We stand ready to help them get the job done.