NEW YORK, NY – While Washington works to find a solution for Dreamers, New American Economy is showcasing how crucial they are to communities across the nation. Over the last few days we’ve shown the impact Dreamers have through their income, tax contributions, payments into Social Security and Medicare, employment, and entrepreneurship. Today, we highlight research showing the impact that they have at the voting booth. While DACA recipients themselves can’t vote, their U.S. citizen relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and community members can. Analyzing data at the household level reveals that more than 2.5 million U.S. citizens live in the same household as at least one DACA-eligible immigrant. More than 760,000 of these individuals are already able to vote, and the rest will become eligible when they turn 18.
The impact at the voting booth is particularly strong in several important states:
- In 2015, California alone was home to more than 628,000 U.S. citizens who lived with at least one person who was DACA-eligible, 230,000 of whom were already eligible to vote.
- In Texas that year, roughly 436,000 U.S. citizens lived with a person who was eligible for DACA, 99,000 of whom were eligible to vote.
- The voting power of the individuals was particularly strong in several key swing states.
- There were 151,943 American citizens living with DACA-eligible immigrants in Florida in 2015. Of these, 62,803 were eligible voters. The margin of victory in the 2016 election in that state, meanwhile, was 112,911 votes.
- Nevada was home to 47,044 citizens who lived with a DACA-eligible individual, 14,340 of whom were eligible voters in 2015. In Nevada, the 2016 presidential election was decided by 27,202 votes.
- The 2016 election was decided in Michigan by a margin of 10,704 votes. The state was home to 18,091 citizens who lived with a DACA-eligible immigrant in 2015, 6,261 of whom were eligible to vote.
In addition to economic research on the DACA-eligible population, New American Economy has collected immigration stories from every single congressional district through iMarch.us. One such story comes from Carlos, a DACA recipient and Princeton graduate, working in Houston, Texas.
Carlos was brought to the United States as a baby and raised in near poverty by his mother after his father passed away. Growing up in Houston, he and his older sister—also a DACA recipient—didn’t feel like foreigners. He only realized he was undocumented when he saw his mother taking his youngest sister, who was born in the United States and is a citizen, to the doctor and the dentist, thanks to a public-assistance program that covered native-born children but not undocumented youngsters. “I’d seen what it meant to be a person without papers, and how hard my mom worked, and how limited her opportunities were,” he says. “I knew I needed to go college to improve my family’s situation.” Carlos’ DACA status allowed him to attend Princeton and get a job helping support his family back in Houston. Now aged 22, Carlos works in Houston’s school system as a college success adviser, and wants to spend his career trying to help underprivileged students achieve their potential. His younger sister, now 14 years old, is just 4 years from being eligible to vote in US elections.
All of NAE’s DACA-related research is available here.