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New Data on Contributions of Dreamers in Rural America

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Ohio to Gain if Congress Passes the Dream Act and Cements Young Immigrants’ Economic and Social Contributions

Cleveland, OH – As the U.S. Congress gets closer to a potential vote on the Dream Act this year, Democrats on the House and Senate Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released a fact sheet about the contributions of DACA beneficiaries in rural America.

DACA is the government program whereby certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children could apply for work permits and not be deported.  President Trump recently ended this program, but has called on Congress to replace it with legislation.

According to the fact sheet “Rural DACA By the Numbers”:

Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients play a large role in rural communities, where their economic contributions are helping rural towns get back on their feet from years of slow economic growth. In rural America, these estimated tens of thousands of young people are part of the answer to building sustainable economies in small towns across the country.

Key takeaways from the fact sheet include:

  • DACA made it possible for many Dreamers in rural areas to get jobs, start businesses, advance their degrees, and contribute more to their families.  Giving individuals access to the basic tools they need to succeed and setting them free to sink or swim is a common value in America.  As this study shows, DACA recipients are swimming and succeeding.
  • DACA also made it possible for rural Dreamers to make major purchases – such as cars (66%) and homes (22%) – many for the first time ever.  These purchases support local businesses, help local economies, and add to the tax base.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio:

The implication is clear: if Congress passes legislation to stabilize the status of Dreamers, the contributions outlined in this new fact sheet would not only be cemented but expanded.  While there are approximately 4,500 DACA beneficiaries in Ohio, many more would qualify for the Dream Act as they come into working age.  The Center for American Progress estimates that the Dream Act would make it possible for 10,000 Ohioans to obtain legal employment, and expand the state GDP by $92 million.  That’s a win-win all around.

While Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-12) is Chairman of the JEC and Senator Portman (R-OH)  is a member of the Committee, they were not involved in issuing the report.  However, Tiberi and Rep. Stivers (R-15) are both cosponsors of the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, a pro-Dreamer bill introduced by Republicans in the House.

Senator Portman claims to “support Dreamers” generally, but has not endorsed specific policy solutions.  Read more about Portman’s stance, and the eight Ohio Dreamers who tried to get some clarity from him, here.

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and nearly two-dozen Ohio colleges and universities have urged Congress to pass a bill like the Dream Act.