New Data Highlights the Economic Contributions of DREAMers in Major Texas Metros

Analysis confirms DACA-eligible residents pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, wield billions in spending power annually in Texas metropolitan areas

HOUSTON– Today, Texans for Economic Growth (TEG) and the Texas Opportunity Coalition (TOC) released new data from the 2019 American Community Survey that demonstrates the significant financial and economic impact that Dreamers make in major metropolitan regions across Texas. 

Among other findings, the data show that Houston and Dallas are each home to more than 60,000 individuals eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – or Dreamers – and that in each of these metro regions, Dreamers earn more than one billion dollars annually in income and pay more than a quarter of a billion dollars in taxes every year.

“We have long known that Dreamers make important contributions to the Texas economy and to Texas businesses,” said Chelsie Kramer, New American Economy State Organizer.  “Our hope is that this data will help local leaders quantify and recognize the contributions that Dreamers make to their specific cities and towns and advocate accordingly. Dreamers are entrepreneurs, and losing them would be a devastating hit to our efforts to remain competitive.”

The analysis by New American Economy looked at DACA-eligible individuals living in the Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio metro areas and in Brazos County, which is home to the main campus of Texas A&M University.  The data shows that:

  • 64,874 Dreamers live in the Dallas metro region and contribute $287.8M in federal, state and local taxes. Collectively they possess $967.1M in spending power.
  • 60,625 Dreamers live in the Houston metro region and contribute $255.4M in federal, state and local taxes. Collectively they possess $846.2M in spending power.
  • 14,420 Dreamers live in the McAllen metro region and contribute $39.8M in federal, state, and local taxes. Collectively they possess $142.2M in spending power.
  • 13,586 Dreamers live in the Austin metro region and contribute $74.7M in federal, state, and local taxes. Collectively they possess $238.9M in spending power.

“These numbers help us understand the value of Dreamers who live and work in Texas, and underscore how failing to pass a federal Dream Act could have serious economic and fiscal consequences in key Texas metropolitan areas,” said Woody L. Hunt, TOC and TEG member and senior chairman of the board of Hunt Companies, Inc. “We want Texas to lead in the post-pandemic economic recovery, and that means we are going to need everyone pulling together. But we won’t get there if Congress doesn’t enact a sensible, permanent legislative solution to allow Dreamers to continue contributing to our companies and communities.” 

TEC and TOC are Texas-based organizations with strong ties to the business community.  Both groups support a federal Dream Act, which would allow young people who were brought to America at a young age, attend and graduate from American schools, and obey American laws to remain in the country and legally live, work, and raise their families here.  A version of the Dream Act (the American Dream and Promise Act) recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham have introduced bipartisan Dream Act legislation in the Senate. 

“At a time when small and medium-sized businesses are doing their best to stay open, Texas’s leaders should be prioritizing policies that help these businesses weather the storm of this pandemic,” said Justin Yancy, TOC co-chair, TEG Steering Committee member, and president of the Texas Business Leadership Council. “In every major Texas region, we see that Dreamers have hundreds of millions of dollars in spending power, which can help these businesses stay afloat and help grow regional economies.”

Texas is home to more DACA-eligible individuals than any state other than California.  Approximately four in five Texas Dreamers live in one of the metropolitan areas covered by the survey.  A full breakdown of the economic data per metro region can be found here: Examining the Economic Contributions of the DACA-Eligible Population in Texas.

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About Texans for Economic Growth

Texans for Economic Growth is a coalition of over 105 Texas business leaders and associations dedicated to recognizing and supporting the positive impact that immigrants have on the Texas economy as business owners, taxpayers, and consumers. TEG supports common-sense federal immigration reforms, as well as statewide policies that recognize the valuable contributions immigrants make to the state. The guiding principles of TEG is the Texas Compact on Immigration, which can be found at www.txcompact.org/compact.

About the Texas Opportunity Coalition

The Texas Opportunity Coalition is dedicated to securing passage of a federal Dream Act, which would provide Dreamers in Texas and across the country the right to work, pursue higher education, contribute to their local economies, and obtain lawful status.  The coalition includes almost 90 representatives from statewide business associations, Texas corporations, local chambers of commerce, and Texas universities and colleges.  Its efforts are structured around five core principles that should inform any legislative effort to enact immigration reform.  These principles can be viewed at: http://www.txopportunity.org/policy.html

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…