Des Moines, IA — Today, Iowa business and community leaders responded to President Trump’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, opposing the decision to remove the thousands of individuals that help make Iowa’s economy stronger. The group called for Congressional solutions that instead harness the power of the foreign-born individuals eligible under DACA.
“Anyone who has worked with DACA recipients knows that they are indistinguishable from other Iowans. They have trusted the U.S. government to do the right thing when they registered, and have been using their work permits to work and study hard,” said Lori Chesser, Attorney with Davis Brown Law Firm. “Ending DACA is a loss for all Iowans.”
The group is working with New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan organization that supports immigration reforms which help both American and foreign-born workers build a better economy.
In a brief released on Friday, Spotlight on the DACA-Eligible Population, NAE found that:
- Despite the rhetoric claiming undocumented youths are a drain on the U.S. economy, 90 percent of the DACA-eligible population who are at least 16 years old are employed.
- In 2015, DACA-eligible entrepreneurs had a total business income of $658.7 million, a significant boost to local economies across the country.
- DACA-eligible population earns almost $19.9 billion in total income annually. They contribute more than $1.4 billion to federal taxes and more than $1.6 billion to state and local taxes in the United States. They also hold significant economic clout after taxes, with almost $16.8 billion in spending power.
“Ending DACA and removing the protection for these young individuals is a considerable loss for us in Iowa,” said Mary Bontrager, Executive Vice President of Talent Development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “These students become job creators, fill critically-needed positions in our workforce and provide substantial contributions to the state’s economy. We urge Iowa’s congressional leaders to pass the DREAM Act and allow hardworking young men and women continue to be a vital component of our regional and national economic growth.”
“Governor Ray set the standard for welcoming refugees and immigrants to Iowa. It told the world Iowa people are compassionate and caring,” added Most Reverend Richard Pates, Bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese. “Moreover, those who arrived in his day as well as ours have made huge economic contributions to our communities. Let us continue this proud Iowa tradition.”