That would be a tragedy for these young adults and for the country. I have known Dreamers all my life and I currently support them as an immigration attorney across the state. I know how valuable they are. Oklahoma’s 10,000+ dreamers pay approximately $ 43 million in federal, state, and local taxes. But the pandemic has also shown us how much we need it.
According to the New American Economy, more than 500,000 dreamers are important workers. In Oklahoma, an estimated 1,600 young immigrants with DACA approval have shown their willingness to make sacrifices for the land they love during the darkest parts of the pandemic by working as nurses, housekeeping, teachers, grocer, and farm laborer. They will become even more important in the coming months as our state faces critical labor shortages.
They answered the call to stand up in the most difficult moments of our state. Now I call on Congress to alleviate some of their sufferings. You can’t imagine what it is like to live with chronic stress and anxiety every day without knowing whether you can stay home, keep working, and stay with your friends and family. Oklahomans got a taste of what it feels like to live in isolation during the pandemic. This is how dreamers have spent most of their lives desperately wanting to belong to a country that has kept us at a distance.
Many of us have gone through the Oklahoma school system. Every morning we have sworn allegiance to the flag, but without a law of Congress we cannot serve in the military, get affordable education in our state universities, participate as voters in our democracy, or make the long-term contributions to America we are eager to make.