On September 8, 2017, representatives of several MeBIC partners met with Senator Susan Collins, to urge her to work for a permanent solution for the DACA youth who will lose their legal status and work eligibility on March 8, 2018.
In attendance were Dana Connors, CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Carla Dickstein, SVP for Research and Policy Development at Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Mark St. Germain, President of St. Germain Collins, David Barber, Senior Consultant at Barber Foods, David McElhinny, President, and Cindy Caplice, Human Resources, of SIGCO, Inc., and MeBIC’s Executive Director, Beth Stickney, together with a young man holding DACA status who will become deportable when DACA ends.
Attendees discussed Maine’s acute and worsening workforce shortage, and the importance of immigrants to Maine’s communities, labor supply, and economy. The DACA holder, who is pursing a STEM degree in college, told of growing up in Maine since age four, and explained that he was in high school when he first learned that he had no legal status. He described the doors that opened once he got DACA, allowing him to work, pay taxes, and pay his way through college. He told Senator Collins about the business he started, where he employs local workers and pays payroll taxes. He would have to close his business and lay off his employees, and could not afford to continue studying, if Congress fails to create a path to legal status for those who will soon lose their DACA status. He urged Senator Collins to support the Dream Act of 2017.
The Senator was clearly moved by the young man’s story, and stated her unambiguous commitment to finding a solution so that he, and the nearly 800,000 other DACA holders like him, can stay and reach their full potential in the U.S.