Scrapping DACA could cost US more than $400bn, study finds

8 Sep 17

Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a programme giving temporary immigration status to around 800,000 young people could cost the US billions, says a report. 

By repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, 30,000 work permits a month could be lost, according to a report by lobbying group and think-tank Center for American Progress, published last week.

Nearly 91% of the around 800,000 DACA recipients are currently in employment in the US, the documented stated.

An earlier study by the Center for American Progress concluded the US gross domestic product (GDP) would be reduced by $433.4bn over 10 years if DACA workers lose their work permits and jobs.

DACA – set up by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama – gave temporary legal immigration status to people who arrived illegally in the US as children.

“Eliminating DACA would have immediate and severe consequences for not only the 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ enrolled in the program, but for the millions of Americans who live, work, and study with these young people every single day,” Todd Schulte, president, said.

Dreamers is a term given to DACA recipients. The programme was started five years ago.

Following the Trump administration’s announcement to end DACA on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he would give Congress six months to legalise the programme before he would “revisit [the] issue”.

The hardest hit areas would be states like California and Florida with the largest share of DACA participants, according to the study.

California, with an estimated 187,972 DACA workers, would see a GDP loss of $11.3bn annually, while Texas would lose $6.1bn and North Carolina $1.9bn.

DACA recipients in the workforce today have the potential to generate more than $460m in GDP over the next decade, according to Tom Jawetz, vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

“Ending DACA is not only the wrong thing to do for young people who call America home, but it also means shrinking the pie for everyone,” said Jawetz.

No-one’s DACA status will be revoked prior to its expiry date and applications already received will be processed, administration officials said.

Policy analyst at the Cato Institute David Bier said: “There is absolutely no question that DACA has greatly benefited the US economy.

"The opportunity to participate in lawful employment incentivises investment in additional skills, which results in greater contributions to America’s economy."

He added: "America could secure these benefits for decades to come by granting permanent residency to these young immigrants.”

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