Without DACA recipients, Florida could lose more than $1 billion annually, says study


  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
As if the humane approach wasn’t enough, there’s a financial incentive for providing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients too.

Beginning March 5, nearly 700,000 of those approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA – an Obama-era executive order that grants two-year renewable work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children – are set to lose their legal protection from the threat of deportation. 

(An explanation of the DREAM Act – what DACA recipients and their proponents are fighting for.)

But according to a study by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think-tank based in DC, without those same DREAMers — as DACA recipients are often called — the U.S., as well as Florida, risks losing out on a serious amount of cash flow over the next decade.

On a national scale: Of those roughly 700,000 undocumented individuals, about 685,000 are part of the country's workforce. With that in mind, the study finds that without DACA recipients the nation's domestic product would be reduced by approximately $460.3 billion over the next ten years, with Medicare and Social Security contributions plummeting by about $24.6 billion annually.

(It should be noted that although DACA recipients have paid billions of dollars in taxes to Social Security and Medicaid since DACA's inception in 2012, they're not currently entitled to reap the benefits from either federal program.)

Those are big, scary numbers even for the most fat-pocketed, and it doesn't get any better in terms of what the Sunshine State could expect without its DACA recipients as members of the workforce.

For Florida and its population of roughly 27,000 DREAMers, the CAP expects it to take an especially hard hit compared to other states, with estimates showing that the state would suffer a GDP loss of $1.4 billion per year.

Add that reasoning to the growing list of why these young individuals might deserve a shot at legal citizenship, or at least a pathway to such — by way of amnesty or not.