Just Taxes Blog by ITEP

We Must Protect Dreamers

We Must Protect Dreamers

January 16, 2018

Misha Hill
Misha Hill
Policy Analyst

Last week, a federal court judge in California ruled that the Trump administration cannot end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) while the case works its way through the courts. Although this is reassuring news for the roughly 685,000 young people currently enrolled or seeking renewals for their DACA status it does not extend protections to new applicants, and it does not lessen the need for congressional action to protect Dreamers.

In addition to the varied contributions young immigrants make as students, workers, and members of communities, they also pay state and local taxes. A 2017 survey of 2,800 DACA recipients found that 91 percent of respondents are currently employed, compared to only 44 percent before they enrolled in DACA. Because of the work authorization provided by DACA, young immigrants can work and earn more. This translates to more money in local economies and more tax revenue for state and local governments.

An updated ITEP analysis of the tax contributions of the 1.3 million Dreamers living in the United States found that those eligible for or enrolled in DACA contribute $1.8 billion annually in state and local taxes. This includes $1.2 billion from those currently enrolled in DACA and an additional $497 million from those eligible but not enrolled.

But Dreamers are foremost Americans. They are our neighbors, classmates, and co-workers, and they have called this country home for most of their lives. The success of Dreamers shows that when we welcome immigrants into our communities our communities and economies are enriched. 

This post contains a correction. It previously stated that 98 percent of respondents are currently employed instead of 91.