Home » Immigration reform should be a top priority, Kentucky Chamber tells federal delegation

Immigration reform should be a top priority, Kentucky Chamber tells federal delegation

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

In a letter to all eight members of Kentucky’s federal delegation, the Kentucky Chamber called on Congress to come up with a legislative solution to a critical immigration issue.

In light of the Trump administration’s decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Kentucky Chamber urged Kentucky’s members of Congress to find a legislative solution to this issue before the program protections are phased out on March 5, 2018.

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson stressed the Chamber’s support of immigration reforms over many years, including a path for legal status for the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the U.S., “allowing them to emerge from the shadows and create a stable workforce.”

Adkisson pointed to the following statistics in the letter:

In Kentucky alone, the positive economic impact of the DACA-eligible recipients can be easily seen:

  • There are as many as 5,459 DACA-eligible recipients in the state.
  • Despite the rhetoric claiming undocumented youths are a drain on the Kentucky economy, 90.5 percent of the DACA-eligible population who are at least 16 years old are employed.
  • Kentucky’s DACA-eligible population earns almost $70.4 million in total income annually.
  • Kentucky’s DACA-eligible population contributes more than $10 million in total taxes annually, $6.1 million of which goes to state and local tax revenue.

At large, immigrants have substantial impact on the local economy:

  • In Kentucky, nearly 152,000 residents are immigrants.
  • Over 10,600 immigrants are entrepreneurs, employing more than 35,000 at the immigrant-owned firms in the state.
  • In 2016, Kentucky immigrants held $2.7 billion in spending power.
  • Immigrants in Kentucky pay $969 million in taxes every year.

Adkisson concluded the letter by stating the Kentucky Chamber stands ready to work with the Congressional delegation on a bipartisan solution to protect the DACA recipients before time runs out on March 5, 2018. Read a copy of the full letter here.