Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has improved about 800,000 lives in the United States, and 6,300 in Minnesota. However, earlier this fall President Donald Trump announced his elimination of DACA and has left the fate of a program that has supported thousands of immigrant lives and communities around the country in the hands of the U.S. Congress. There are many reasons why Congress should pass legislation such as the Dream Act, that would provide lawful permanent status for DACA recipients. Here are four:
- DACA is important for building the future workforce that Minnesota needs. DACA recipients have been able to pursue educational opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access. DACA recipients can also find higher quality jobs that better match their skills, and can get to and from their jobs more reliably, thanks to their ability to access driver’s licenses.
- DACA results in increased economic activity in our communities and increased tax revenues. DACA recipients in Minnesota contribute an estimated $15 million in state and local taxes annually.
- Because DACA permits aren’t being renewed, 122 Dreamers lose DACA every day in the United States. More than 10,000 have lost their DACA status to date. This means young people across the country are losing their work permits and their temporary relief from deportation. Researchers have calculated that removing all DACA recipients from our communities and our economy would wipe away $280 billion to $460 billion from the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, cumulatively over a decade. Minnesota could lose about $377 million of economic activity annually.
- DACA acknowledges the investments our country and state have made in young people who have grown up here, allowing them to further their educations and careers. DACA was created in 2012 as a common-sense way to recognize the investments we have made in the young people who have grown up here. Many DACA recipients are living, studying, and working in the only country they call home.
As hundreds of young people lose their DACA status each week, it is imperative that Congress pass legislation such as the Dream Act to restore protections for these young people. We’ve long urged that Congress pass immigration reform that respects the basic human dignity of immigrants, provides a path to citizenship, keeps families together, and protects the rights of and conditions for workers. The Dream Act is one small step toward this important goal.