Donald Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would devastate families and the national workforce, and send "shockwaves" through state economies.
The Trump administration’s plan to end an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to country as children could have “catastrophic” effects on families and communities — as well as the U.S. economy.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012, has provided work permits and deferral from deportation for an estimated 800,000 eligible young people, allowing them to go to school and work in the U.S. without the constant fear of deportation.
The program gave qualified recipients a chance to pursue the American Dream — and recipients have capitalized on the opportunity, getting better jobs, earning higher wages, and starting businesses at a higher rate than the national average.
The opportunities provided by DACA translate into significant economic growth, which benefits all Americans. With more people working better jobs, home ownership, car sales, and other economic indicators also improve. Over the next decade alone, DACA recipients, also known as DREAMers, are projected to contribute over $460 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.
But all of these gains could soon be stripped away.
DACA is already under attack by 10 Republican state attorneys general, who are trying to force the administration to act by threatening to move forward with a lawsuit on Sept. 5 if Donald Trump doesn’t act before then.
Now, Trump appears poised to end the program almost immediately, in what some say is an attempt to “take credit” for its termination. Although the action has not been announced yet, Trump is reportedly planning to move ahead with it as soon as Friday.
It’s not clear yet whether Trump will try to rescind work permits from those who already have them, or if he’ll terminate the program by announcing that work permits will not renewed.
But either way, the effects of ending DACA would be felt almost immediately, sending “shockwaves” through state economies and businesses nationwide.
According to one recent report, an estimated 30,000 DREAMers would lose their work permits each month, and nearly 700,000 members of the U.S. workforce would be stripped of their ability to work over the next two years. Even a temporary halt in DACA renewals would have a devastating impact on the workforce, with a potential for 1,400 jobs to be lost every single day.
As the report concluded:
In addition to the reprehensible moral consequences, ending DACA would place severe economic strain on businesses around the country, putting them into the impossible and extremely costly position of having to fire productive employees for no other reason than an arbitrary change in federal policy, potentially resulting in backlash from other employees, or their broader community.
Surveys show that more than 7 in 10 Americans support allowing DACA recipients to remain permanently in the country, including a majority of Trump voters. And on Friday, even Republican leaders in Congress, including Speaker Paul Ryan, called on Trump to leave the program in place.
While ending DACA might appease Trump’s white nationalist base, it would come at a significant moral and economic cost — and all of us would end up paying for it.