On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced he would repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. DACA, an Obama-era executive action, protected undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors from deportation and allowed them to apply for a work permit.
"The mind-boggling cost of DACA repeal," published by Brookings, summarizes the cost of repealing DACA. 90 percent of working age Dreamers are employed and pay an estimated $2 billion in taxes each year. Yet they remain ineligible for the public benefits, such as SNAP and Medicaid, to which citizens are entitled. In addition to the economic contributions that Dreamers make to the U.S. economy, the administrative costs of deporting all, or even some, Dreamers is staggering. Brookings previously reported that the average cost of deporting an undocumented individual is $12,500. If this cost is multiplied by 800,000 (the approximate number of Dreamers in the U.S.), the total cost expended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport Dreamers would approach $10 billion. That's double ICE's annual budget of just over $5 billion.
Beyond the economic contributions Dreamers make to the U.S. economy and the fiscal irresponsibility of repealing DACA—it poses an enormous strain on taxpayers—the repeal of DACA should not be analyzed exclusively through an economic framework. Dreamers—many of whom have never known a home other than the U.S.—have been denied the freedom to live in the U.S. without fear based on their place of birth and skin color.
DACA recipients, particularly those whose DACA expires before March 5, 2018, are invited to attend a Free DACA Renewal Workshop on September 20, 2017 at 6 p.m at 1400 N Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. The workshop is hosted by Catholic Charities.