The National Retail Federation today welcomed a move by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin to give permanent U.S. residency to participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as part of the budget reconciliation bill pending in Congress. But NRF said immigration reform should be addressed through Congress’ regular committee process rather than budget reconciliation.

“The men and women whose status would be adjusted by this legislation are law-abiding, tax-paying Americans who have never known adult life anywhere else besides the United States,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “They have contributed to – and will continue to contribute to – our society, businesses and economy. Congress should provide them with a pathway to lawful permanent residence and ultimately American citizenship.”

“While these reforms are an important step in addressing much-needed immigration reform, NRF further encourages Congress to move separate, comprehensive legislation to address the many flaws of our broken immigration system,” French said. “The current system simply fails to meet our nation’s needs.”

French’s comments came in a letter to Durbin. The Illinois Democrat is seeking to include provisions in the reconciliation bill that would give permanent residence to certain individuals already in the United States, including “dreamers” under the DACA program, “essential” workers as defined by the Department of Homeland Security and those on temporary protected status. NRF supports all three provisions.

Given the “complexities of immigration reform and its importance to the nation’s economy,” immigration efforts beyond the provisions sought by Durbin should be explored later rather than through the reconciliation process, French said.

DACA allows individuals brought to the United States as children to remain but has been the subject of repeated legal and political challenges. NRF has supported the program, joining other groups in filing a 2019 friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court that said ending the program would upend the lives of young immigrants, lead to businesses losing valuable talent, and cause disruptions in the workforce. The court ruled in favor of DACA in that case, but other legal actions remain pending.

NRF is a member of the Coalition for the American Dream, which has estimated that national gross domestic product would lose between $350 billion and $460 billion if the DACA program ended, and that tax revenues would be reduced by approximately $90 billion over a decade.