PHOENIX As the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, 6,800 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in Arizona continue to work in what the Department of Homeland Security deems “essential critical infrastructure,” providing services that Arizonans depend on daily. This figure includes 1,000 health care professionals in the state, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.

Rep. Greg Stanton cosigned a letter today urging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to automatically extend work authorizations for immigrants during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“This report is a reminder that Dreamers are as much a part of our community as anyone else—and they continue to show it by risking their own health and safety to take care of others,” said Stanton. “It’s critical that we take action to automatically extend employment authorizations so these DACA recipients can continue to work here legally and provide essential services.”

An additional analysis estimates DACA recipients in Arizona contribute $159.8 million in federal taxes and $90.2 million in state and local taxes annually. DACA recipients’ spending power tops $758 million. “At a time when state budgets are deeply constrained by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this economic activity is critical to their continued functioning,” the Center for American Progress emphasizes. 

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this year on the Trump administration's attempt to terminate the DACA program. Stanton was a cosponsor and avid supporter of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which would put DACA recipients, as well as those eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), on a pathway to citizenship. The House passed H.R. 6 in June 2019; the Senate has not taken up the bill.