THE END OF DACA
On September 5th, President Trump acted to remove existing legal protections for undocumented children in the United States. “DACA,” or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” was established by the Obama Administration to allow immigrants brought to the United States as minors to participate fully in American life. By allowing young immigrants to renew their status as protected Americans every two years, President Obama made it possible for lifelong Americans born in other countries to seek employment, education, medical services, or anything else their lives demanded.
By those metrics, the program appears to have been relatively successful. According to the Journal of Public Economics, wages and labor force participation grew significantly among those who took advantage of DACA. Economic Letters reported that the action reduced the number of immigrant households living in poverty. Multiple journals, including The Lancet Public Health and Science, published findings that both DACA-eligible immigrants and their children had better mental health outcomes while DACA was in place than when George W. Bush was president. Certainly, DACA improved the lives of immigrants who had entered the country as minors.
“According to the Journal of Public Economics, wages and labor force participation grew significantly among those who took advantage of DACA.”
Immigrants in Georgia have been no exception. Georgia has more than 48,000 DACA-eligible immigrants from Mexico alone. 73,000 immigrants are currently eligible for DACA protection in Georgia — 4% of the national DACA-eligible population of almost a million people. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already accepted 30,000 applications from immigrants in Georgia in the last few years, allowing tens of thousands of young people from Central America, Mexico, India, and other areas to contribute more to our state and our country than ever before.
“Georgia Budget and Policy Institute research director Wesley Tharpe said if Trump revokes DACA and deports people enrolled in and eligible for the program, Georgia will lose $66 million a year in tax revenue.”
This terrible rescinding on a good policy poses a major threat to our state’s fiscal well-being. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute reported in February that Georgia’s recent self-imposed immigrant crackdowns have harshly threatened our state’s tax revenue supply. According to Wesley Tharpe, “if Trump revokes DACA and deports people enrolled in and eligible for the program, Georgia will lose $66 million a year in tax revenue.” In addition, Georgia’s DACA recipients pay almost $70 million in taxes every year. The estimated cost of removing these young people from their jobs is almost $30 million. In fact, extending DACA coverage to the tens of thousands of Georgia immigrants who are eligible but not yet signed up could increase their tax contributions by almost $20 million, bringing the total tax revenue from immigrants in Georgia alone to well over $80 million.
“Georgia’s DACA recipients pay almost $70 million in taxes every year. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.”
No politician who claims to be either fiscally responsible or devoutly Christian can justify this expensive assault on some of our most patriotic Americans. This cruel, reckless action will ultimately ruin the economies of numerous municipalities, and probably the lives of millions of people. You may not even know how many aspiring Americans are in your own circle of friends, and you certainly don’t know how many DACA recipients have sewn your “Made in the USA” clothing, have cooked your food, or have otherwise helped make your material existence in this country feasible. DACA makes American life a reality for too many of our compatriots for a president to scrap it in one fell swoop. Call Senator Perdue and Senator Isakson to demand action.
Author: Alex Garrett
Also published on Medium.