For those who are unaware, yesterday the White House announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, effective March 5, 2018. This action puts 800,000 immigrants who came to this country as children at risk of deportation. It also directly impacts several of our own employees as well as our 158 Golden Door Scholars – who are all DACA recipients.
To me – as well as to our hundreds of Golden Door Scholar mentors, students, and to many of you – this is personal. Using the lives and futures of young people to further partisan agendas defies common decency. I have joined leaders from both sides of the aisle to publicly support DACA recipients and to urge Congress to pass legislation that permanently protects them. Until we find a solution, I will continue to make my voice heard. It is the right thing to do for our company, and for our country.
The DACA recipients who work at Red Ventures, our Golden Door Scholars, and the countless others like them across the country deserve the right to pursue the American dream. We are stronger, smarter and better with these outstanding people working and learning with us. We will work tirelessly to identify the best plan of action to achieve a permanent solution before their protection ends in March.
For those of you who have expressed a desire to help, thank you. Please see my full message below, share it, reach out to your representatives, and make some noise if you agree, and follow me on Twitter @RicElias for more updates as our own strategy crystalizes.
I know 200 outstanding students and young adults who didn’t sleep at all last night. The news this morning was what we feared most. Everything they’ve worked so hard for is now at risk.
First, to the Golden Door Scholars and Red Ventures employees directly impacted by the rescinding of DACA – I want to say that I’m sorry. As a leader, I’ve failed you. As a country, we’ve failed you. Shame on us for letting 5 years go by without a permanent solution. No person your age – and with your potential – should live with the fear and uncertainty you’ve had to live with for this long. You deserve more than that.
Know two things:
First, the clear majority of the country supports you. You have so many people – from both sides of the aisle- rooting for you. You are doing all the right things – and you are making a real difference in your schools, at your jobs, and for your families. We see you. We are proud of you. We will fight for you. Find strength in that.
Second, Congress has 6 months to find a permanent solution – and we are going to use every day of it to pressure our representatives to act. I fear that instead of acting in the best interest of our people and our country, Congress will use 800,000 innocent kids as human shields for their own political agendas. To that I say enough is enough. Our failure to act wouldn’t just be a legislative failure, it would be a moral failure. And when you put partisan politics aside and see this for what it is – a human rights issue – doing the right thing should be an easy thing to do.
So to Congress I say – it’s time to act. It’s time to stop thinking about your careers and your reelection, and start thinking about your legacy. It’s time to stop thinking about political parties, and start thinking about what it means to be American.
Our country is in dire need of immigration reform, but we cannot confuse that for what’s at stake right now. There are 800,000 innocent young people whose lives and futures are in limbo. Kids who are making our country a better place. Kids who are giving more than they take. Kids who would give ANYTHING to wake up tomorrow just like your kids do – without fear that the American dream could be taken away from them. We must unite and find a solution before DACA expires. Until then, I will do everything in my power to put pressure on congress like we never have before – and I ask fellow business leaders to use their platforms to do the same. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. It’s time to stand up for what’s right or to step aside.
To the 200 dreamers I know well who have changed my life and to the many more who are waiting, living in fear: I know you are worried. I know you feel like no matter what you do, you won’t be accepted. You’ve been treading water for years and instead of a life raft, you got an anchor. But remember, it is always brightest after the storm. You have an army behind you. We will not tolerate 6 months of inaction. We will not let time run out on you again.
We can do this. That determination, grit, intelligence, kindness, and strength that got you those full scholarships, those degrees with honors, those top tier jobs – that has not been in vain. It has prepared you for this moment. And now it is our turn to match your tenacity and courage – to hold ourselves and congress accountable for doing the right thing – for you, and for America.
About the Author:Ric Elias | Co-Founder & CEO
Ric Elias is CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures. In 2009, he survived the "Miracle on the Hudson,” which led to his viral TED Talk, "3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed." In 2011, Ric was named Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 2016 he was inducted into the Carolinas Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Ric has founded several social impact initiatives including RoadtoHire, Golden Door Scholars, LifeSports, and Forward787. A native of Puerto Rico, Ric attended Boston College and Harvard Business School.