Ending DACA Is Economically Foolish, but Don't Just Take My Word for It

For decades, Republicans have prided themselves on being the voice of small businesses: when costly and burdensome regulations passed by Democrats weigh down the millions of business owners providing jobs to tens of millions more people, Republicans have stepped in. They should be rewarded for this.


However, when it comes to DACA (the federal program that grants temporary legal status to roughly 800,000 children and young adults), many Republicans are simply not on the sides of small businesses. In fact, ending DACA would cost small business owners billions.

Don’t believe me? Fine. Believe the widely-respected Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute.

According to Cato immigration policy analyst David Bier, the Trump administration’s effort to slowly phase out DACA over the next six months would cost the very business owners Republicans have traditionally rescued from burdensome regulations a whopping $6.3 billion “in employee turnover costs, including recruiting, hiring, and training 720,000 new employees ,” according to Bier.

This is because more than 90 percent of the 800,000 DACA recipients (720,000) currently have jobs. Furthermore, according to a 2017 study by the liberal Center for American Progress, which Bier cited in his Cato study, those 720,000 working DREAMers make, on average, about $17.46 per hour, or $34,920 annually.

Do the math and you’ll find that altogether, DREAMers’ incomes total around $25.1 billion each year. That’s $25.1 billion injected into the American economy, making it both stronger and more diverse. (I talked about the importance of American diversity in a piece published by RedState yesterday.)


Meanwhile, the cost to employers, including small businesses, if the federal government ends DACA, thus forcing employers to fire those workers, is $6.3 billion.

Biers noted that this figure is the equivalent “of 31 ‘major’ regulations” — you know, the types of regulations that Republicans are supposed to oppose.

Now, I know the argument many on the Right will make is that America can’t afford to let DREAMers have those jobs. The problem with that ill-informed argument, however, is that the U.S. is already hovering near 4 percent unemployment, which economists say is near full employment. In other words, most Americans who want jobs have jobs. So to make the argument that DREAMers are somehow stealing Americans’ jobs just doesn’t pass the smell test.


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