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How Does DACA Help the US Economy?

immigration document

How Much Do Dreamers Contribute to the Economy?

Rescinded in September 2017 but reinstated in January 2021, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows certain immigrants who came to the US as children to request consideration of deferred action for 2 years, subject to renewal, and receive authorization to work in the US. Although it does not provide lawful status, DACA benefits its roughly 700,000 recipients in a number of ways.

Not to mention, DACA significantly benefits the US economy. DACA recipients are eligible to work, which helps our nation’s economy as a result. But to what extent?

Well, when you take a look at the numbers below, you may be astounded to learn just how much DACA positively impacts our economy.

  • According to research from the American Action Forum (AAF):
  • DACA recipients contribute about $3.4 billion annually to the federal balance sheet
  • As of 2017, they contribute nearly $42 billion to the annual US GDP with an average economic contribution of $109,000 per worker
  • Removing all DACA recipients would cost between $7 billion and $21 billion, reducing US GDP by 0.4%

Data analyses by the New American Economy Research Fund (NAE) further demonstrates DACA’s positive fiscal impacts, revealing the following information in its report:

  • The DACA-eligible population earned $23.4 billion in 2017, up from almost $19.9 billion in 2015
  • 93.3% of DACA-eligible individuals were actively employed in 2017
  • DACA-eligible individuals paid more than $2.2 billion in federal taxes, according to NAE estimates
  • In 2017, DACA-eligible individuals paid $1.8 billion in state and local taxes
  • The DACA-eligible population alone included 43,000 entrepreneurs, or self-employed workers, in 2017
  • In 2017, almost 3 out of every 5 DACA-eligible individuals lived in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois, earning more than a $1 billion combined
    • DACA-eligible individuals contributed more than $100 million in state and local taxes in each state, led by $581.3 million in taxes in California and $313.6 million in Texas
  • The 43,600+ DACA-eligible residents in Georgia earned $730.9 million in 2017, giving them almost $610.3 million in spending power after taxes
    • In Arizona, North Carolina, Washington, and Colorado, their spending power ranged from roughly $400 to $500 million that year

A DACA study conducted by Nolan G. Pope that was published in the Journal of Public Economics in 2016 found that “DACA moved between 50,000 and 75,000 immigrants into employment from either outside the formal labor force or unemployment, and increased the average income of immigrants in the bottom of the income distribution.” DACA workers pay more taxes through payroll, income, and sales because of their earning capacity and spending power, explains Pope.

Looking to Apply for DACA? We Can Help.

Besides its economic impacts, DACA has helped recipients obtain higher education, health insurance, driver’s licenses, and much more. If you are interested in applying for DACA, be sure you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
  • You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS
  • You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
    • You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
    • Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012
  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

Our attorneys are strong advocates for DACA, which is why we make it our mission to help our clients understand the process and clarify their confusion. We understand it can be challenging trying to navigate the DACA application process without a lawyer, which is why we encourage you to schedule your consultation today and learn more. Make an appointment online or by calling (805) 467-6060!