NEW YORK, NY – As the President prepares to talk about immigration in his State of the Union address tonight, and Congress works to find a solution for Dreamers, New American Economy is releasing data and stories showing just how critical these immigrants are to our communities and our economy. Despite rhetoric that claims undocumented youth are a drain on the U.S. economy, NAE’s research shows that in fact 90 percent of the DACA-eligible population 16 years and older were employed in 2015. In other words, they are productive members of our workforce and they are helping fill labor shortages as baby boomers retire and businesses look to grow.
Further research on the employment trends of DACA-eligible immigrants reveals:
- Of those aged 16 and older who are in the labor force and not in school or the military, we find that at least 86 percent of DACA-eligible individuals were employed in every state in our analysis.
- In 16 states, including Wisconsin, Utah, and North Carolina, more than 90 percent of DACA-eligible individuals were employed in 2015.
- In 2015, both Massachusetts and Colorado saw over 95 percent of the DACA-eligible population employed.
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 highlights Blanca, a university grad and insurance representative living in Norman, Oklahoma.
Blanca knew that receiving DACA meant she would be able to take care of four younger siblings—all born in the United States—in the event that her parents, also undocumented, were to be deported. “DACA has allowed me to be more independent,” she says. “It’s given me the opportunity to get a job, which I wasn’t able to do before. Now I can sustain myself.” Blanca is paying close attention to the negotiations in Washington. Without DACA, she notes, “I’d probably lose my job and wouldn’t be able to commute as easily. I would go back to being as scared as I was before. But a lot of people are doing amazing things to try and make policy changes, so I haven’t lost hope.”
Today’s release is the fourth in our series on DACA-eligible immigrants’ contributions to the economy. Learn more about their income levels, tax contributions, payments into Social Security and Medicare. And check out all of our DACA-related research here.