The Economic Benefits of Passing the Dream Act
Wolgin, Philip E.
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A September 5 announcement from the Trump administration effectively ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) —a program that, since 2012, has helped nearly 800,000 young people gain a temporary reprieve from deportation and a work permit. The conversation has now shifted to the urgent need for Congress to pass legislation such as the Dream Act, which would provide permanent protection and a pathway to citizenship to unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children. To better understand the potential economic impact of passing the Dream Act, this brief calculates the economic gains that would stem from legalizing potentially eligible individuals already in the workforce. This analysis builds on the groundbreaking work of the Center for American Progress’ earlier study, “The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers,” which calculated the economic contributions of unauthorized workers to each individual industry, each state, and the nation as a whole, and updates and applies that economic model to the population of workers eligible for the Dream Act.