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Legal Status for Dreamers Boosts NY Tax Revenue

A new report says granting DACA status increases employment rates and workers' wages, and contributes substantially to state tax coffers. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)
A new report says granting DACA status increases employment rates and workers' wages, and contributes substantially to state tax coffers. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)
April 26, 2017

NEW YORK - Undocumented immigrants who arrived as children contribute millions in tax dollars to New York, according to a new report.

The Trump administration is sending mixed messages about whether those granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status by the Obama administration will be deported or allowed to stay and work legally. David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, said he believes one consideration should be the contributions young immigrants are making, in New York and nationally.

"DACA recipients contribute $140 million to New York state and local tax revenues," he said. "So, we wanted to show the very substantial contribution of young people who are, in all kinds of ways, making real contributions to the economy and to our state's society."

According to the report, prepared by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, about 1.3 million immigrants eligible for DACA nationwide pay about $2 billion a year in combined state and local taxes. Kallick noted that making it clear DACA recipients can make this country their home permanently would likely increase their contributions even more.

"If they had a path to citizenship," he said, "they could not only be doing the jobs they may be doing now but also feel confident that they could stay here, have a real career."

The ITEP report estimated that a path to citizenship would increase the tax contributions of DACA recipients in New York by another $40 million a year.

As a presidential candidate, Trump said DACA recipients would be deported. However, last Friday he reversed himself, saying they will not be targets for deportation. Kallick said he believes the change of heart may be due to growing community resistance.

"These are people who are working, they're people who are going to school, they're serving in the military," he said. "Why would we want to be deporting these kids, who grew up side-by-side with my kids in school? It just doesn't make sense."

The ITEP report is online at itep.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY