Commentary: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program currently allows nearly 800,000 undocumented individuals to work and live in the United States. President Trump’s decision to end the program not only flies in the face of what the United States stands for, but kicks out important contributors to the economy, undermining recent economic progress.
Created in 2012 to protect individuals who were brought into the United States as children without proper documentation, DACA has enabled individuals in communities across the country to come out of the shadows, get drivers licenses, obtain access to higher education and necessary skill sets, find work, and serve in the military. With this opportunity, DACA recipients have demonstrated that they are American in every way, despite being undocumented.
The economic impact of rescinding DACA will negatively affect individuals beyond recipients and their families, including employers who have hired DACA recipients, as well as communities where DACA recipients are active economic and social participants.
The repeal of DACA will place an extreme hardship and burden on U.S. businesses, on local communities, and on the American economy. According to analysis by the Center for American Progress, rescinding DACA would result in an estimated loss of $460.3 billion from the national GDP over the next decade. Ending DACA would also remove an estimated 685,000 workers from the nation’s economy over the next two years—at a rate of more than 30,000 jobs a month—leaving employers in a lurch to fill these positions. Further, replacing these individuals is expected to cost employers more than $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs.
Concern over the impact of rescinding DACA spans the political divide, with the libertarian Cato Institute publishing a study that finds similar negative impacts for the national economy should the program be rolled back.
President Trump’s decision to end DACA is an effort to please his conservative, anti-immigrant base. Scoring political points instead of providing policy solutions will only produce negative economic consequences for Americans across the country. Congress must find a solution that will protect Dreamers and the American economy from this damaging, inhumane action by President Trump.