LISC CEO Maurice Jones weighs in on the critical role immigrants have always played in the social, economic and spiritual life of this country. The Dreamers, as 800,000 young people supported by the DACA program are known, are valuable assets to our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods, and we need their participation, just as they need a pathway to citizenship.
It’s impossible to describe the assets and enduring promise of this country without praising the contributions of immigrants. Indeed, the American Dream is a shared aspiration of millions of people, many of whom came here in search of freedom, safety and a better life. Willing to work hard, share their talents and energies, and serve their new nation, they were—and continue to be—catalysts of American progress.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, aka DACA, is part of our legacy of embracing and protecting new Americans--part of what fuels our spiritual, social and economic growth.
The nearly 800,000 Dreamers, as these young immigrants are known, have become vibrant strands to the multi-textured fabric of our society. They attend schools, open businesses, create jobs, buy homes and pay taxes. In fact, research shows that Dreamers will inject nearly a half trillion dollars into our GDP over the next decade.
Thousands of these Dreamers live in the communities where LISC works, and some are dedicating their lives to service as staff in LISC’s local offices or working with our partners in urban and rural places across America. Others have offered their lives in defense of the only country they know by joining the armed forces.
For all these reasons and more, we at LISC encourage Congress to provide these children and young adults a pathway to citizenship. At the end of the day, we are all Dreamers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maurice A. Jones, President & CEO, LISC
Prior to joining LISC, Maurice was the Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where he managed 13 state agencies focused on the economic needs in his native state. Before that, he was second in command at the U.S. Dept. of HUD, serving as deputy secretary in charge of operations. He has also been Commissioner of Virginia’s Dept. of Social Services and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Gov. Mark Warner. At the U.S. Treasury Dept. during the Clinton Administration, he managed the CDFI fund. His private sector experience includes top positions at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, a Richmond law firm and a private philanthropy investing in community-based efforts to benefit children in Washington, D.C.