Guillermo and Manny Garcia were two of the earliest employees at my office services company, Managed by Q. After four years we’re hardly a startup anymore, but Guillermo and Manny joined in the garage days, when everyone pitched in to get the job done, regardless of their role or experience. The brothers immigrated to New York City from Mexico when they were nine and seven years old, and because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), they were allowed to work legally in this country.
Thanks to DACA, Guillermo and Manny were able to join Managed by Q and help build Q Services, our service company providing cleaning and maintenance to some of the fastest growing companies in New York, the United States, and the world. If Congress doesn’t pass a clean Dream Act, I will be forced to fire them when their work permits expire. Many business leaders keep their politics at home, but when it comes to Manny, Guillermo, a dozen other Q employees who received work authorization through DACA, and the 800,000 Dreamers who will risk deportation unless Congress takes action this month, I just cannot sit on the sidelines.=
Managed by Q was founded in 2013 to help companies run their offices more efficiently by providing critical facilities services like cleaning, maintenance, and office administration. While our mission is to help create more productive work spaces, we also provide good jobs to almost 1,000 people nationwide. Our service company, Q Services, provided over half a million hours of service in 2017 alone. Guillermo and Manny Garcia are some of our most tenured Q Services employees, on the frontlines of handling client issues and serving as mentors to other employees. Like other Dreamers, they earned DACA status after passing thorough background checks and paying fees. Since joining us three years ago, Guillermo and Manny have been consistently promoted and recognized for their performance. As Guillermo puts it, he “fixes problems” for dozens of offices in New York. But all of that could change.
In September, President Trump announced the end of DACA. Congress must pass legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for these Dreamers or employers like me will be forced to fire DACA recipients who are no longer able to renew their work permits. From a moral and economic standpoint, removing 800,000 Dreamers from the workforce is disgraceful. Experts say it will cost employers $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs. At our business alone, it would be draining both fiscally and emotionally to let go of trusted employees and then recruit, rehire, retrain and build back the lost capacity.
That is why last month, Guillermo and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for meetings with Members of Congress to urge the immediate passage of the bipartisan Dream Act. We were in good company, joined by senior executives from companies like Apple, IBM and Facebook, and organized by FWD.us. Together, hundreds of entrepreneurs and DACA recipients blanketed Capitol Hill explaining the unnecessary hardship created by the rescission of DACA and the many benefits to passing the Dream Act.
The Dream Act will allow the 800,000 DACA recipients who came here on average at 6 years old, and are now 26, to continue going to school, working and living in the only country most have ever known as home. Many of these Dreamers, Guillermo included, have started families here and have children who are U.S. citizens.
A recent study released by the Center for American Progress shows that around 8,000 DACA recipients have likely already lost their protection from deportation and work authorization as a result of the Trump Administration’s decision to end this program. If Congress fails to pass the Dream Act, nearly 300,000 Dreamers will be ripped out of the American workforce and lose their deportation protections between March 5 and the midterm elections on November 5, 2018. This means that for the next two years, approximately 1,700 Dreamers every single business day (Monday through Friday) — or roughly 7,000 Dreamers per week — will be fired from their jobs and become a priority for deportation.
The United States is the only home Guillermo and Manny have ever known, and it is reprehensible that the United States government would tell them otherwise. We consider them a part of our family at Q; they’re the people our clients have come to rely on for years. It is incumbent on those of us in the business community to speak out and urge Congress to take action now. The cost of inaction is too high to bear, not just for 800,000 Dreamers, but for all of us who believe in the American Dream.