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Protecting Young Immigrants Boosts NY Economy

DACA recipients pay $140 million in sales, property and income taxes in New York State. (Korean Resource Center/Flickr)
DACA recipients pay $140 million in sales, property and income taxes in New York State. (Korean Resource Center/Flickr)
July 7, 2017

NEW YORK – Protecting young immigrants as they enter the workforce brings a significant boost to New York's economy, according to a new analysis.

About 76,000 immigrants in New York State are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program.

Cyierra Roldan, a policy analyst with the Fiscal Policy Institute, says that protection helps them get drivers licenses and find better jobs - and increases their contributions to the tax base in every state, including New York.

"DACA recipients currently pay a total of $1.6 billion to local and state taxes around the country; and currently in New York State, they are contributing $140 million," she says.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he wanted to terminate the DACA program, but so far it has been allowed to remain in effect.

Even without protections, undocumented immigrants still would pay taxes. But Roldan points out that ending the DACA program would have consequences for those it now covers, and for the state as a whole.

"The DACA recipients would lose their work permits, their incomes would decrease," she adds. "So, if DACA was terminated, the state would lose $55 million in local and state taxes."

In June, the Trump administration canceled DAPA, a program that would have protected immigrant parents whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Roldan notes that ending DACA would put almost 900,000 young immigrants nationwide at risk of being deported to countries they have never known.

"They grew up here," continues Roldan. "This is the only place they know as home and the place that they call home. And they just want to do the same things that we all do."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY