“Dreamers” are so named because of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that was introduced as a bipartisan Senate bill in 2001. It did not pass into law. There have been as many as 21 subsequent failed bills since. In 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) served as a policy step toward creating healthy futures for the Dreamer children of undocumented immigrants in the face of so many legislative failures.
Improved community health becomes an option only when systems and policies such as DACA are supportive of it. Health starts with individual well-being, which in turn depends on supportive family, neighbors, and friends. Fundamentally, this is the base from which we access opportunities to live, work, learn, and play as healthy and productive Arizonans.
In that regard, the current turbulence and uncertainty regarding DACA is unwelcome and unproductive. If DACA policy is not re-established by Congressional action, a recent analysis published by CNBC quantified Arizona’s economic loss at $1.3 billion annually. Of course, DACA recipients are not only contributing to our economy, they are helping build our knowledge base and serving in our military. Just as importantly, Dreamers and their families are woven into the community fabric across Arizona.
Well-being is our goal. Health is our business. Communities are our starting point. That is why Vitalyst joins business, education and philanthropic leaders across Arizona and the U.S. in supporting comprehensive and inclusive action that formally recognizes and protects the value of Dreamers in contributing to Arizona’s community health and well-being.