Episode 4: John Bauschard and John Paul Demirdjian – A primer on Immigration in America
The team at Road to Status manages a platform that has helped more than 65,000 people navigate their personal immigration process over the past 2 years. During this link up, we get grounded on the data, policy issues, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), potential resolutions and actions we can take as citizens.
- We start with some key facts, acknowledging that immigrants comprise a significant portion of all businesses started in America, contribute to the American economy as it relates to the purchase of basic necessities (e.g. houses, cars, groceries) and are notable taxpayers.
- Recent Gallup poll data suggests that public sentiment supports this point of view as well as there were four key points coming out of the poll. 1) That Immigrants start many businesses, 2) They comprise approximately 17% of the workforce, 3) That more than 70% of poll participants supported a pathway to legal immigration and 4) That there was a stronger preference for a pathway for illegal immigrants versus a border wall.
- John and John shared that even with a wall, we would have challenges as we have approximately 1 Million immigrants who came to America when they were 16 years old or less (who only know America as their country) and another 11 – 13 Million that are undocumented.
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) [8:00]
- This is the executive order that was introduced by the Obama administration in 2014, allowing immigrants who came into the country under the age of 16 to stay provided they met certain conditions. However, it did not solve for a path to citizenship. The Road to Status online system reduces this burden for immigrants, helping them prepare their paperwork more efficiently in advance of the meeting with their lawyer, subsequently reducing those fees (typically $1,500 to $2,500).
- In September of 2017, President Trump rescinded DACA. As both the legality of the original executive order and the rescindment of it, have been in question, not going through the court system, many impacted by DACA appear paralyzed. In other words, while the government may be taking DACA renewals, many immigrants may not come forward, fearful of what the final outcome of DACA will be in the court system (e.g. deportation). (This is still outstanding in the courts at the time of this podcast publishing)
The impact to the Economy and Security Risks [14:30]
- From an economic perspective, academic studies have shown that immigration favorably contributes to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
- From a security risk perspective, the team could not point to any data that supports assertions that immigrants pose a higher security risk than any other population.
Thy Why for Road to Status [23:45]
- The Road to Status team is passionate about solving this is, which goes beyond immigration, as a significant number of people do not have access to legal support more broadly. According to the Legal Service Corporation’s 2017 Justice Gap Report, in summary, in the past year, 86% of civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help. Attached is a summary report for those interested.
- In essence, the immigration code is similar to the tax code in its complexity. However, while we have Turbo Tax and similar software packages to assist us as consumers with taxes, the same did not exist to help someone with the immigration process. Further, their tool acts as a conduit to assist the person working through their immigration, along with the interaction with the attorney.
Actionable insights [32:00]
- We need a decision made relative to the current immigrants that are still here in America. These matters are still in the court. As a citizen, you can raise this with your elected officials. You can leverage fwd.us to locate your local official.
- If you are an immigrant, it is of the utmost importance that you understand your current situation be using publicly available resources such as www.roadtostatus.com