Levi Strauss & Co. exists because of the opportunity afforded to our founder, Levi Strauss, an immigrant who built his company on the values of courage, originality, integrity and empathy.
It’s the latter point that drives our decision to join nearly 800 entrepreneurs and business leaders in an open letter calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or a permanent legislative solution that provides Dreamers raised in our country the solution they deserve. This program protects children and young adults who were brought to the United States by their undocumented immigrant parents.
According to the Pew Research Institute, nearly 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants have been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since it was created five years ago, and California, our home state, accounts for more than a quarter of those Dreamers — the highest in the nation.
As we see it, turning away those that are most vulnerable goes against everything we stand for as a country. We must protect the Dreamers and their aspirations to seize the opportunities our country affords, and invest their talent back into our economy to make us all stronger.
Here at LS&Co., through the Levi Strauss Foundation, we have pledged $1 million in grants to organizations that protect the civil liberties of marginalized communities. Two of those recipients — Define America and United We Dream — are on the front lines of efforts to protect Dreamers.
“Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy,” the letter states. “With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”
We are committed to pressing Congress on righting this injustice and will support all efforts to offer Dreamers a permanent solution to continue working, studying and living in the United States.
Looking for a way to help? United We Dream has established The Renewal Fund to support DACA recipients by covering the $495 renewal fee. More than 154,000 current DACA recipients whose DACA status expires between now and March 5th, 2018 have to file to renew before the October 5, 2017 deadline. This process is urgent, complicated and expensive, so we encourage everyone to donate now to United We Dream. Our employees who donate will be matched 2:1 by the Levi Strauss Foundation.
*Photo credit: Shutterstock.com