Leaders From the West Respond to New Cato Study: Repeal of DACA Would Cost Americans Billions

Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would cost the country billions, according to a Cato Institute study released Wednesday.

A repeal followed by deportation of all DACA recipients, who number about 740,000, would cost more than $60 billion, not counting an ensuing $280 billion hit to the American economy in the next decade, researchers found.

“For Donald Trump to begin his administration by issuing an executive order of his own that imposes a significant cost of the economy while doing little or nothing to fix the underlying problems that illegal immigration cause would not only be self-defeating, but it would send a signal that the executive overreach of the Obama Administration has become the status quo,” researcher Ike Brannon, a visiting fellow at Cato and president of Capital Policy Analytics, writes in an op-ed.

“American workers are benefiting from DACA recipients’ work and education, and recipients are generating revenue that helps our economy,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “President-elect Trump should see that DACA is a good deal for the American worker. He should preserve the program and urge Congress to take the opportunity to pursue bipartisan solutions that allow these contributions to continue and expand.”

The following are quotes from Western leaders:

Kit Danley, Executive Director, Neighborhood Ministries, Phoenix:
“One of the joys and delights as a pastor in our community in Phoenix is watching young people take advantage of the opportunities and dreams afforded them. DACA has been one of those opportunities for our Dreamers. Those who have received DACA are advancing on every front as a result of their status. They are being awarded scholarships, traveling and graduating college. They are advancing their sense of self and are dominantly driven by a sense of giving back. Many, many of them are studying to be teachers, criminal justice professionals, lawyers and in careers in which they can serve those who are on the margins. This is their country. They are patriotic and love the United States.”

Jason Mathis, Executive Director, Downtown Alliance; EVP, Salt Lake Chamber:
“Deporting Dreamers who are integrated into communities across America would do nothing but hurt our economy and destroy lives. Political leaders should be looking for ways to grow our economy, support families and keep America safe. Deporting DACA recipients would be a terrible and costly mistake.”

Michelle Warren, Mountain West Consultant, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform, Denver:
“DACA recipients are our neighbors and members of our churches. They study hard in school, they start businesses and they create opportunities for everyone in Colorado. Both the economic consequences and the costs to families that would be caused by repealing DACA are clear. We need solutions for these young immigrants that strengthen our economy and respect our shared values as Coloradans.”

Jon Huckins, Pastor and Co-Founding Director, The Global Immersion Project, San Diego:
“In recent years, I’ve had the honor of growing friendships with DACA recipients. The more I’ve have the opportunity to learn their stories and witness the fruit of their lives, the more I believe we need their presence in our homes, neighborhoods and country. Their vision, work ethic and determination to succeed have made it clear that they are contributors to our society. We have a lot to learn from our DACA friends and our next generation would be wise to follow their lead.”

Rev. Glen Peterson, Office Director, World Relief, Garden Grove, California:
“Young people bring vitality and growth to our churches, communities and neighborhoods. This is true of youth who have come to the United States with their families without the benefit of immigration status. We know the positive impact of these friends as they lead in churches and our communities. As these Dreamers benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), they also demonstrate their economic contribution. And, with more permanent immigration relief, they can better integrate into the community at large.”

Terry McGonigal, Director of Church Engagement, Whitworth University, Spokane, Washington:
“I stood at the foot of the Statue of Liberty with one of my students — a Dreamer — as tears flowed down his cheeks. Tears of joy because he could not believe he was at a place he had been told for so long did not include him. Tears of fear because he was afraid of what could happen to him there or what could happen to his family. His honesty and his vulnerability taught all of us that day — African American and First Nations and white students. He became our teacher that day, and we need many more like him for us to fulfill the dream represented at and by the Statue of Liberty.”

Lacy Nguyen, Student Activist, Whitworth University, Spokane, Washington:
“The Dreamers on my campus are passionate and hardworking to advocate for undocumented students. Through working with them as an ally, they have shown me what it’s like to fight for an important cause, even in the face of adversity and opposition. Despite the recent xenophobia arising in the U.S., and the threats of deportation, these students still stand with resilience for what they believe in. They fight with strength, courage and grace. Whitworth University would not be the same without the cultural perspective of these students. I can say confidently that my life, and student life on campus, is enriched because of their presence.”

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