President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to reverse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which provides temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — often referred to as Dreamers — would slash the country’s GDP by $433 billion over the next decade, according to recent studies.
Established by President Barack Obama through executive order in 2012, DACA grants adults who came to America as children a two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. Over the four-year span, 87 percent of the 741,546 enrolled participants are currently employed, according to a study by the Center for American Progress released earlier this fall.
Trump and his incoming administration have hinted at eliminating the program, calling it an “illegal executive amnesty.” According to a study released last week by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Trump’s decision could have major economic ramifications.
Currently, the abundance of workers who have been granted this permit has led to major tax revenue due to higher wages. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center claims that if Trump follows through on his plan to abolish DACA, some of the nation’s most stapled welfare programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, would receive a severe cut to their taxpayer contributions.
These reports estimate that the total contributions to Social Security and Medicare would be reduced by slightly more than $24 billion over the next 10 years, adding that Social Security would stand to lose $19.9 billion in tax revenue, while the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, would see a drop of $4.6 billion to its contributions. FICA, which requires contributions from both employers and employees for Social Security and Medicare, would realize a significant drop based solely on a decrease in employees.
Potential layoffs could cost employers an additional $3.4 billion in recruiting and training costs while replacing those employees. “Some employers may consider consolidating or shedding these existing positions to proactively reduce some of those [turnover] costs,” said Jose Magaña-Salgado, managing policy attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the author of the report.
In his Person of the Year interview with Time Magazine, Trump expressed some desire to accommodate those Dreamers currently enlisted in the DACA program. The president-elect has yet to lay out a plan, and some politicians on the right fear a compromise would symbolize his backpedal from promises made while on the campaign trail.
“I want Dreamers for our children also,” Trump told Time. “We’re going to work something out. On a humanitarian basis it’s a very tough situation. We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation.”