President Trump is widely expected to soon put an end to DACA, the Obama-era program that shields more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, but a new report about the economic fallout of such a move might make him think twice before pulling the trigger.
Drawing on data from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, the report from FWD.us and the Center for American Progress shows that 91 percent of DACA recipients are employed, nearly 6 percent have started businesses, and almost 55 percent have purchased a vehicle.
If this group disappears from the U.S. labor force due to mass deportations or the loss of work permits, 700,000 would lose their jobs and employers would have to pay $3.4 billion in turnover costs to replace them, the report says. Total cost to the economy would be $460 billion in lost GDP, according to the study.
The DACA program, created by President Obama in 2012, requires applicants to undergo an extensive criminal background check and show proof of long-term residency in the U.S. Those who qualify are allowed to stay in the country and work legally.
Other key takeaways from the report:
- Over a decade, repealing DACA would also cost Medicare and Social Security $24.6 billion in lost contributions.
- A repeal would also mean 700,000 people losing their authority to work over the next two years. Put another way, that’s 7,234 jobs lost every week.
- Nearly 800,000 people could be deported if DACA ends.
The report, along with the significant impacts it predicts, is notable for its bipartisan political backing. The Center for American Progress is considered liberal; FWD.us is a bipartisan immigration reform group founded by Mark Zuckerberg and other business leaders, and the Cato Institute, which helped supplied much of the original research for the report, is libertarian.
It’s no surprise the tech industry is getting involved. They’ve engaged across the board with the administration on immigration issues, from urging Trump to keep DACA to filing briefs in federal court disagreeing with Trump’s Muslim ban.
What’s more surprising is that they’re working on this effort in sync with groups associated more with the right and the left.
Despite coming together across ideological lines, DACA advocates like these face stiff opposition at the state level, where the attorneys general of 10 conservative-leaning states have promised to sue the Trump administration if it repeals DACA by Sept. 5.
Not everyone in Washington supported the findings in the report. In response to the findings, Conn Carroll, the communications director for Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, tweeted this: