There’s a lot of (sometimes deliberate) misinformation and stereotypes about The Dreamers who have made the U.S. their home. Here’s some pertinent information to be aware of about a group of people often maligned and used for political point-scoring …
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, college financial aid or other assistance programs as some assume. And they cannot receive DACA if they’ve been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanour/s; it equally does not protect recipients from deportation if they 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 Money
We shouldn’t focus solely on the negative consequences losing their contributions will have on the U.S. economy if DACA is rescinded; we should appreciate their stories. If we always perceive a key issue through the guise of government policy and taxes, we miss the humanity we all share. We disregard the simplicity, and importance of family — the pursuit of a better life — which is often proclaimed as the ideal 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 keeping up-to-date with the Immigration Rights information via this ACLU page are some ways we can 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 and the spirit of entrepreneurship and ingenuity; there’s strength and power in that and the Dreamers reflect this. The recipients of a clean Dream Act will continue to work hard and contribute — something that ultimately benefits their families, their communities and their country.
I support keeping families together. I support DACA and a Clean Dream Act.