Caesars and MGM Urge Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

Caesars and MGM Resorts on DACA Program

Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts cited their DACA employees in urging Congress to act.

Citing their own DACA workers, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts urged the U.S. Congress to pass immigration reform, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Caesars and MGM said both employ DACA workers at their casinos and would like them to stay in the United States.

On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions announced on behalf of the Trump administration that it would end the DACA program, effective in 6 months. In doing so, President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass reforms to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but said he would not sign a new DACA law if he did not receive funding for a southern border wall.

It is rare for casino companies to involve themselves in mainstream political issues which do not involve gaming-related concerns. In taking a political stance, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts noted their own issues DACA-related worker issues. The other two Las Vegas Strip giants, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts, declined to comment on Wednesday about the DACA program.

What Is the DACA Program?

The United States has 800,000 members of the DACA program, who are sometimes called “Dreamers”, because the program was supported to be enacted under the ill-fated Dream Act. After Congress failed to pass the Dream Act in 2010, President Barack Obama signed an executive order bringing the DACA program into existence.

DACA is a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States without documentation. Many Dreamers have lived in the USA since they were months old and know no other home than the United States. Recognizing that Dreamers themselves cannot be blamed for being undocumented, the DACA program was designed to prepare them for citizenship. Dreamers must pay taxes on their work in the country, as well as a $500 biannual fee to remain in the United States. Failure to do so leads to the removal of their DACA status.

Dreamers Working for Caesars and MGM

Under the Sessions Plan, DACA workers protections would be phased out in stages, beginning with the first deportations in 6 months. In his announcement of the end of the Dreamer program, Jeff Sessions gave a long public defense of the Trump Administration’s decision, as well as a public indictment of the Obama Administration’s decision to enact the Dreamer program unilaterally.

In his press conference, Jeff Sessions said, “The DACA program was implemented in 2012 and essentially provided a legal status for recipients for a renewable two-year term, work authorization and other benefits, including participation in the social security program, to 800,000 mostly-adult illegal aliens.”

Jeff Sessions’s DACA Statement

The U.S. Attorney General continued, “The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.

“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”

Caesars Entertainment on Immigration Reform

In response, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts each released their own statements on the ending of the DACA program. Richard Broome, EVP of Public Affairs and Communications, said in a public statement, “Caesars Entertainment has DACA employees, and as is the case for all of our immigrant employees, we support their efforts to become U.S. citizens. The company also continues to support comprehensive immigration reform.”

MGM Resorts on DACA Workers

MGM Resorts International, in a separate press release, called on the U.S. Congress to pass “long-overdue comprehensive immigration reform. We urge Congress to move quickly to address this so that the young people affected have stability for their future.”

It is unknown whether the votes exist in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It has been one of the most controversial issues on the American agenda the past couple of decades. It not only divides the parties, but also divides caucuses within the parties.

When the 2018 US Congress’s legislative session begins, one can expect the DACA program and immigration reform to become a major political firestorm in the United States. For the time being, the debt ceiling, an omnibus spending bill, a possible infrastructure bill, and tax reform will dominate the public debate until the end of the year. When the final DACA negotiations begin early next year, expect Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts to be among the US corporations lobbying members of Congress to keep the Dreams in America.