Texas DREAMers & Our Economy: A Look at the Numbers
Updated: Aug 13, 2018
by Ally Z., Contributor
Texas Family Project
Texas and six other states are suing the federal government in an attempt to curtail the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy more commonly known as DACA. Discontinuing this program would cut off resources and deport roughly 694,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors, knows as “Dreamers”.
A court filing submitted May 1 revealed powerful insights into the impact of these Dreamers on the state of Texas, socially and economically. It stated that “8 percent of Dreamers end up starting their own businesses,” which is a major catalyst for Texas jobs, considering the 113,000 DACA recipients residing in the Lone Star state alone. Without these businesses, many jobs belonging to Dreamers and native Texans alike would be cut and cause a significant reduction in commercial diversity.
“If all of Texas’ Dreamers lost their work authorization, it would cost the state $78,260,000 per year in state and local tax revenues.”
A hit to the economy that size seems almost unfathomable.
According to the court file, “every day DACA is enjoined, approximately 1,700 people will lose their jobs,” an economic travesty to the state that “translates into lost productivity and revenue for companies, lost tax revenue for governments, and broader economic contraction”.
Another assertion pointed out that terminating DACA is a call for “staggering” and “irreversible” socioeconomic harms” to Texas’ economy, totalling at a “$6 billion impact on the state’s economy,” the second-largest in the nation.
Much akin to the current economic bailout of U.S. farmers, the file was clear about the cost to the taxpayer. “Asking other Texas taxpayers to make up this shortfall if DACA is enjoined will harm Texas businesses and the larger Texas economy.”
Dreamers are “integral members of their communities,” the court file went on to say; “providers of health and social services, public safety officers, teachers, and faculty and staff at universities,” and are allies to our state and national economy.
As this lawsuit has gained public attention, the reaction has been a bit unusual. Instead of just political and social justice organizations responding, businesses have gotten involved.
In January, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donated $33 million to TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for Dreamers. This was the largest grant in the organization’s history; a huge sum for a comparatively microscopic nonprofit. Why invest in such a politically charged issue? One reason may be that Jeff Bezos’ Cuban-born father, came to the U.S. alone and unable to speak English. Bezos knows first-hand the positive impact immigrants can have on our economy and it willing to invest in its success.
Other companies focused on the economic validity and importance of Dreamers. Southwest Airlines succinctly voiced that “Texas businesses count dreamers among their valued customers, employees, and fellow members of the Texas community and Southwest Airlines is no exception” in a statement they had prepared the day of the court file submission.
Texas needs a strong economy to ensure our families flourish, and this polarizing lawsuit has brought businesses out to fight for our state’s fiscal future.
Termination of DACA is a self-attack on our economic and social structures. Austin must give up its counterproductive lawsuit and allow our DREAMers the freedom to work toward a better economic future for all Texans.
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