I know how much a new life in the U.S. means, so as I learn more about The Dreamers, I cannot help but support them and speak truth against common misconceptions that are used against them.
Dreamers are recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a temporary legal protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants that were brought here as children. DACA provides permission to work, study, and contribute to life here in the USA through paying taxes and working/studying in a broad variety of industries, including education, medicine, the military, technology, law, hospitality services, the arts, and more.
The 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants enrolled or immediately eligible for DACA contribute an estimated $2 billion a year in state and local taxes.[iv] This includes personal income, property, and sales and excise taxes. DACA-eligible individuals pay on average 8.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Their effective tax rate is higher than the average rate paid by the top 1% of taxpayers in state and local taxes of just 5.4 percent and is on par with the average rate paid of 9.4 percent paid by the middle 20 percent of taxpayers.[v] via Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, March 2017
DACA recipients, despite contributing so much, do not have free rein to access all healthcare or college financial aid or other assistance programs as some assume. They don’t receive DACA if they have been convicted of a felony or have been convicted of a serious misdemeanour or three or more other misdemeanours, and DACA does not protect them from deportation if they do get convicted of a crime.
Research from both the right-leaning Cato Institute and left-leaning Center for American Progress suggests Trump’s economic and immigration goals may be diametrically opposed. Their research indicates that ending DACA — and deporting the workers who will no longer enjoy legal status — could reduce the size of the U.S. economy by anywhere from $280 billion to $430 billion over the next decade. via Time Money
It’s easy to focus on the consequences to the U.S. econmy that getting rid of DACA will cause, but you should also know their stories. If you always view your understanding of an important issue through the guise of government, policy and taxes, you miss the humanity. You miss the simplicity, yet vital importance of family – the pursuit of a better life for yourself and your loved ones, which is an ideal often proclaimed to be the backbone of this nation.
Congress needs to pass a Clean Dream Act that will give DACA recipients continued protection, and a pathway to citizenship (which it currently does not). Signing the MoveOn petition below or making a call via this ACLU info page are some ways to help.
… DACAmented individuals aren’t eligible for federal financial aid, Medicaid, Obamacare, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, welfare, or food stamps. Though DACA recipients have Social Security number and will have paid $19.9 billion in taxes towards Social Security (and $4.6 billion in taxes towards Medicare) after just one decade of the program’s existence, because DACA does not provide a real legal status, DACAmented individuals will never actually be able to collect any of these Social Security benefits … via Huffington Post
America is at its greatest when it embraces diverse knowledge, entrepreneurship, ingenuity and spirit. There is strength and power in that. The Dreamers reflect this. The recipients of a clean Dream Act have, and will, continue to work hard to contribute to their families, their community and the USA.
I support keeping families together. I support DACA and a Clean Dream Act.