Top Pro & Con Arguments
Many undocumented immigrants arrived as children, had no choice in breaking immigration laws, and know no other country.
As President Barack Obama explained, “These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.”
Called “Dreamers” for the failed DREAM Act legislation, there are between 1,159,000 and 3,600,000 undocumented immigrants in the United States who arrived as minors. 611,470 of those immigrants were registered for DACA as of Dec. 2021. While most Dreamers are from Mexico, they hail from at least 150 countries, including China, Poland, India, and Nigeria.
According to Mar. 2021 fwd.us estimates, 76% of Dreamers entered the United States in 2011 or earlier and 71% entered the U.S. before they turned 13 years old, with the average Dreamer arriving at age seven. Over 400,000 Dreamers are now a parent to a U.S. citizen child. 50% or more Dreamers are essential workers.
“Over the next 10 years, Dreamers who currently have DACA will contribute an estimated $433.4 billion to the GDP, $60 billion in fiscal impact, and $12.3 billion in taxes to Social Security and Medicare,” estimated Laurence Benenson, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy of the National Immigration Forum.
DACA households paid $6.2 billion in federal and $3.3 billion in state and local taxes annually. They command $25.3 billion in spending power, own 68,000 homes with $760 million in mortgage payments, and pay $2.5 billion in rent yearly.
As education journalist Richard Barth concludes, “Dreamers are showing us every day how committed they are to this country. We need them to help us build a stronger, better future, together. That means creating a path for them to become citizens, as soon as we possibly can.”Read More