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NCWE Board Member Blog - Carola Otero Bracco
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The Workforce We Need is Under Our Nose

    Carola Otero Bracco
    Executive Director
    Neighbors Link, NY



Data shows that the more than 800,000 registered DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival) recipients know no other country as their home but the United States, due to their age when they arrived. Data also shows that DACA recipients are either working or in school. Either way, they are contributing to their communities and the economy. The fate of these many young people is in the hands of the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments and will decide whether this policy will be revoked or remain in place. We will know their decision in June.

DACA began in 2012, with new requirements added in 2014. In order to apply, the applicant had to be between the age of 12 and 35 at the time the policy was enacted and had to have arrived in the United States before the age of 16. No new applications were accepted after March of 2018. This means that today DACA recipients range in age from 14 to 43 years old, prime school through working age. This is the key age group that a developed nation like ours needs to power our economy into the future.

Research shows that DACA has been beneficial to the U.S. economy and repealing it would cause economic harm. The Cato Institute estimates that repealing DACA1 would result in a $280 billion economic decline over the next decade, largely due to the loss of tax revenue that DACA recipients would contribute. In addition, repealing DACA would cost employers $6 billion in turnover costs to hire new employees and train them to reach required levels of productivity. DACA recipients who work, pay personal income tax, property and sales taxes. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that DACA recipients and those immediately eligible for DACA contribute $2 billion a year in state and local taxes.

There is no evidence that DACA recipients take jobs from U.S. citizens2. Contrary to popular perception, there is not a fixed amount of work available in this country. Often, an increase in the number of workers actually boosts the economy and increases the number of jobs available. Currently, there is a shortage of skilled workers for many jobs in the U.S. and DACA recipients, who tend to have high levels of education, are filling many of these gaps in our labor market.

The average age of arrival for a DACA recipient is 6 ½ years old. For the most part, this means that a DACA child attended school, developed long-term friendships with peers, and is now firmly integrated into his or her community. Many DACA recipients speak two or more languages. The ability to communicate in more than one language and interact successfully with people from other cultures is a distinct advantage for young people when they leave school and go out into the work world. Research shows that speaking more than one language confers benefits on a child’s developing brain, resulting in better problem-solving skills and social advantages. These are the skills that employers prefer, and these abilities will be more in demand as time goes on.

DACA recipients are valuable assets to America’s workforce, economy, and communities. They will help us remain competitive in an increasingly challenging global marketplace and they have deep roots in our culture. They are Americans, which the DACA policy recognizes. It makes no sense to deport them due to outdated ideas about our economy and our national identity.

The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Repealing DACA (2017)

2FACT CHECK: Are DACA Recipients Stealing Jobs Away From Other Americans?

Additional Resources: Overview of DACA

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