Leaders Push Congress Beasts

Leaders Push Congress to Pass Bipartisan DREAM Act

Salesforce, Google, and Hewlett-Packard are among many companies speaking up in support of immigrants.

New Sincerity’s Michael Rolph is one of the hundreds of CEOs — including Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard and Marc Benioff of Salesforce — who’ve signed an open letter to Congress, urging that they pass the DREAM Act – a piece of legislation that would give DACA recipients a pathway to permanent residency. Money talks, so seeing those with clout stand up for our DREAMers is very encouraging.

If you’re confused as to why this is so very important (it gets tricky!), here’s a quick recap: Earlier this month President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but offered a 6-month buffer for Congress to offer a counter-solution. DACA, as you may know, is the program that allows residents that were brought to the US illegally as minors to gain work and study permits as adults and be protected from deportation. This also means they become dues-paying residents of the country. If DACA ends, its 800,000 recipients would be at high risk of deportation and their economic contribution could go, essentially, *poof*!

 

 

The letter states that if we lose these residents, the “economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.”

The DREAM Act (first introduced in 2001) has come back into the limelight as a solution and even has the potential support of Congressional Republicans and, perhaps, Trump himself. (Here’s more info on 3 bills with varying degrees of Republican support that could protect DREAMers.)

Big name companies are coming out of the woodwork to maintain pressure on our representatives. Businesses focused on growth and innovation rely on new perspectives and ideas – immigrants are a big piece of that. They (and we) are not willing to give that up.

The letter continues to state that “at least 72% of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.”

 

DACA Lives
Photo: Source Unknown

 

Here’s the most recent version of the letter, in full (as seen on FWD.us):

– – –

September 20, 2017
To: Speaker Paul Ryan; Leader Nancy Pelosi; Leader Mitch McConnell; and Leader Charles E. Schumer

With the rescission of the DACA program, it is urgent that Congress immediately pass the bipartisan Dream Act- or similar legislation – that gives Dreamers the permanent legislative solution they deserve.

Without a permanent legislative solution before next March, roughly 800,000 DACA recipients will lose their ability to work and study legally, will be forced from their jobs, and will be subject to immediate deportation. Further, without congressional action, our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.

Congressional action and a permanent legislative solution is the only path forward to prevent these devastating consequences. This is urgent, and we only have a few months to act.

All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.

Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.

We urge both parties in Congress to work together to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or similar legislation that gives Dreamers the permanent legislation they deserve.

Beasts

Shakespeare Unites War Vets

In Kentucky, combat veterans are being brought together by an unlikely source — theatre.

Fred Johnson, founder of Shakespeare with Veterans, says there is an unexplainable power in Shakespeare’s words of 400 years ago that modern language can’t quite convey. War, loss, empathy, and tragedy are threads in the scripts that hit the heartstrings of many vets.

“But we in it shall be remembered,” Shakespeare wrote in Henry V, a play that is also known for it’s prolific battle speeches. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”

Some were skeptical that veterans would find this program interesting, but some neighboring organizations went ahead and joined together to make it happen, including the Louisville Vet Center and the Kentucky Shakespeare Company.

The Shakespeare With Veterans’ goal is to offer “the opportunity for camaraderie and a higher sense of purpose that represents what veterans loved most during military service.”

 

Photo: Shakespeare With Veterans

 

The vets rehearse in the local Louisville Vet Center, a haven that also provides counseling for PTSD, outreach, and referral services (like employment assistance).

Amy Attaway, artistic director for Kentucky Shakespeare, told Huffington Post about her experience directing the vets. “They would say, ‘this speech sounds like exactly what I would say to my soldiers in the field,’ or ‘this sounds like it could be today’. Those moments have been really exciting to me—new people waking up to the poetry and the power of the words. If you let yourself dig into it, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for.”

Since the program’s initial launch in early 2016, the experiment has become a success. Many vets have found great joy in discovering their inner thespians, some driving 2 hours each way to attend rehearsals.

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