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DREAM Act Will Provide a Needed Boost to the American Economy

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New Study Shows DREAM Youth Would Generate Trillions of Dollars Over the Lifetime of Workers

Washington, DC – At a time when America needs to focus on long term economic growth and investments in its future, a new study from the North American Integration and Development Center (NAID) at UCLA highlights the overwhelming economic benefits that enacting the DREAM Act would provide for our nation. Entitled, “No DREAMers Left Behind: The Economic Potential of DREAM Act Beneficiaries,” the study comes at an opportune time in the political debate and underscores the compelling economic reasons for congressional action on the DREAM Act.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “This new study shows that the DREAM Act is a common sense measure that would strengthen our nation’s economy over the long haul.  Not only would DREAM generate trillions of dollars in economic activity, but it would strengthen the military and our core national values of opportunity and advancement.  Our government has a clear choice: it can either deport high-achieving young people, or help them become citizens of the only country they know as home.  To us, there is only one option: pass the DREAM Act.”

The new study builds on work by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) that estimates that over 2.1 million individuals may qualify for conditional legalization if DREAM is enacted.  The NAID study “examines two scenarios: (1) income generated over 40 years by only 825,000 youth that MPI predicts are most likely to obtain legalization through the DREAM Act; and (2) No DREAMers Left Behind, or income generated over the work-life of the estimated 2.1 million youth who may qualify. The NAID research finds that in the first scenario (1) the 825,000 youth legalized through the DREAM ACT will potentially generate $1.38 trillion over their work-life.  In the second (2), “No DREAMers Left Behind” scenario, the 2.1 million beneficiaries will potentially generate $3.6 trillion over their work-life.”

Additionally, the study’s authors note that, “Beyond the direct and indirect economic impacts of a more productive, legal workforce, the DREAM Act represents an opportunity for American taxpayers to significantly increase the return on our current, and already spent, investment in youths that the public school system educates in their K-12 years. It is common sense to create legislative and policy mechanisms to better ensure an economic return on this taxpayer investment.”

The study bolsters the case of an array of students and policymakers that are pushing for DREAM passage this year.  Congress is planning to take up the measure in its impending session and DREAM was the topic of a White House meeting yesterday between President Obama and leading members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).  Following yesterday’s meeting, Rep. Gutierrez issued a statement highlighting, that he is “all in” for the DREAM Act, and noting that “It is not the time to hesitate or be unclear about what we are fighting for.  We need the DREAM Act.  I see it as a down payment on comprehensive reform and we will continue working towards comprehensive immigration reform today, tomorrow, and until it passes.  But I will not pass up the chance to save a million or more children who grew up in the U.S., who know no other country, and who are threatened with deportation unless we act.”

Access the New Study from the North American Integration and Development Center at UCLA.

Access to Resources from America’s Voice on the DREAM Act.

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.