tags: Press Releases

GOP Hostility to Dreamers and Legal Immigration Hampering Our Economy and Damaging National Response to Inflation

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Washington, DC – At a time when Republicans are trying to argue that the U.S. is being overrun by immigrants, the reality is that the U.S. is facing a shortage of immigrants, which is harming our economy, while GOP nativism and hostility to Dreamers and DACA and broader legal immigration reforms threatens to make things worse.

In Bloomberg Law, “DACA’s Potential Demise Portends Labor Force Drop across Economy,” Andrew Kreighbaum examines how the loss of work authorization for DACA employees would also wreak havoc across the country and harm our economy. Ending DACA and making DACA recipients deportable and/or unemployable, is on the verge of happening due to Republican-led lawsuits emanating from Texas to kill the program: 

“Both workers and employers are bracing for the outcome of the latest legal battle over the program … A ruling that shuts down the program, which appears increasingly likely, would disrupt the lives of nearly 600,000 current DACA recipients and have ripple effects in the labor force.

The situation has drawn the attention of corporations like Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., and IBM Corp., which have weighed in on the need for Congress to enact permanent protections for Dreamers. Microsoft and LinkedIn employ 88 workers with DACA status, a spokeswoman for Microsoft said.

In total, employers could face an estimated $6.3 billion in turnover costs related to the end of the DACA program.

Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Businesses. The state accounts for roughly a sixth of current DACA recipients.

“Taking 600,000 workers that are productively engaged in the US workforce out of it at this point in time would be economically damaging to say the least,” [Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Businesses] said.

DACA recipients, who are employed at higher rates than the general US population, fill thousands of jobs in critical occupations like education. More than 9,000 teachers are recipients of DACA protections—roughly the equivalent of the teaching workforce in Atlanta; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Tallahassee, Fla., combined, according to the Niskanen Center.

…The biggest share of DACA recipients work in food preparation, office/administrative support, construction, and sales occupations. But their employment is spread out broadly across various industries; no occupation accounts for more than 15% of Dreamers.

That means the entire economy will feel the labor squeeze from workers losing employment authorization, said Cecilia Esterline, an immigration research analyst at the Niskanen Center.”

In Business Insider, authors Ben Winck and Jason Lalljee conclude, as summarized in their headline, “The Trump and COVID eras tanked immigration to the US. Reversing that could help ease a recession risk, sky-high inflation, and a labor crisis. Of note, from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to Pershing Square CEO Bill Ackman to Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark, a range of economic observers are making the connection between the current low levels of immigration and rising prices and inflation. As the Business Insider story notes:

“While many Americans view immigration as a threat to the country’s financial well-being, data continually suggests that the opposite is true…

Americans also view inflation as the country’s top problem by a wide margin, according to a Pew Research Center poll from May, as they hurtle toward a near-definite recession in 2023…These views are at odds because more immigrants in the US could help the country’s inflation woes. 

Easing the path to immigration could be a saving grace for the US’ financial straits — this time last year, the US would have had about 2 million more workers if immigration had stayed on its trend from the first half of the 2010s before reversing itself during Trump’s presidential term, Insider estimated, for instance. 

Most of those against ramping up immigration side with the Republican Party. A strong majority of conservatives want to increase deportations of immigrants without legal status and spend more on US-Mexico border security, according to an August poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. Democrats, meanwhile, prefer creating a pathway for more immigrants to stay legally and making it easier to sponsor family members who immigrate to the U.S.

Still, few other options stand to quickly lift worker supply as effectively as immigration, and sticking to the status quo probably won’t look pretty for the economy.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice: 

“Republicans cannot simultaneously claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility and economic growth, while blocking legal immigration, demonizing immigrants and trying to deport Dreamers who are deeply embedded in our communities and economy. 

The GOP is willing to unleash chaos across the labor force to fulfill its anti-immigrant endgame, blocking immigration reforms to open ways for workers to bring their talents to the U.S. and seeking to strip DACA protections and work permits from hundreds of thousands of employees. 

We are all paying a price for GOP nativism. We have not recovered from the shock to our economic system brought on by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller and the steep reductions in legal immigration they put in place. Now, Miller continues his attacks on immigrants and immigration and Republicans, led by Trump, are running hard on nativist and white nationalist language that demonizes immigrants at a time when America needs immigrants the most. With economic concerns topping the agenda for many voters, Republican opposition to immigration and their desire to deport gainfully and legally employed immigrants like DACA recipients ought to be a repellant to voters and should be a talking point Democrats wield.”