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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Edmund O. Schweitzer III: It’s time to do the right thing for Dreamers

A million young people across the United States of America took advantage of the opportunity presented to them through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It’s time for Congress to iron out any wrinkles in the action, and turn it into solid law. It’s time to eliminate the uncertainty for these young folks. And it’s time to take this first step in improving our broken, bureaucratic, burdensome immigration practices. It’s not a system; it’s a shame.

This country was built upon the dreams of people from around the world. The intellect, talent and creativity that our diversity brings makes up the fabric of this great nation. You never know where the next discovery, innovation or cure will come from; but we do know we all benefit from intellectual and cultural diversity.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories recently joined over 115 other business leaders in signing on to a Coalition For the American Dream letter urging congressional leaders to act by Friday to pass bipartisan legislation offering DACA recipients a practical path forward. This deadline is critical because the agencies involved will need time to implement the plan and avoid disruption to people’s lives and business.

SEL currently has employees working under DACA who are valuable contributors to our company as they help us to meet our mission of making electric power safer, more reliable and more economical. Their work not only benefits SEL and our employee owners, but also the local communities we serve, our customers, and the growth of the broader U.S. economy.

The delay in acting creates uncertainty for businesses, but more importantly it will have significant negative impacts on people’s day-to-day lives. We have an immediate opportunity to do the right thing for so many young people who have pursued the path presented by DACA, shared their personal information with the government, and now find themselves in an unfortunate state of increased anxiety. Rather than pushing these people back into the shadows, Congress should work together in a bipartisan manner to provide long-term certainty for DACA recipients. This would allow these individuals to continue contributing to society and pursuing the American Dream.

We appreciate the bipartisan efforts that are underway in Washington, D.C., including our own representatives from Washington and Idaho and their efforts to work across the aisle to protect the Dreamers, and ask that they continue pushing for a resolution. I also encourage other business leaders and citizens to let their voices be heard on this very important issue.

Edmund O. Schweitzer III, Ph.D., is president of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.


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