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NC Rural Communities Have Most to Lose with End of DACA

Small towns like Lansing, N.C., need residents who will start businesses and put down roots. Some in Congress are concerned that ending the DACA program will inhibit that. (Tom Fowler Aerial Photography/Wikipedia)
Small towns like Lansing, N.C., need residents who will start businesses and put down roots. Some in Congress are concerned that ending the DACA program will inhibit that. (Tom Fowler Aerial Photography/Wikipedia)
December 11, 2017

HIGH POINT, N.C. – While Congress seems in no hurry to resolve the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, some Congressional leaders say rural communities may have the most to lose if the young people brought to the U.S. as children have to leave the workforce.

President Donald Trump has said he will end DACA, but Congresswoman Alma Adams of Charlotte, who represents North Carolina's 12th district, said DACA recipients play a significant role in the success of small towns across the state.

"That's going to have a tremendous impact on North Carolina,” Adams said. "It's good for the economy there, because they're small communities and many of the DACA recipients have their own businesses."

This month, Adams and fellow Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee released research detailing the positive role DACA participants - the so-called Dreamers - play in rural economies. It said 91 percent of them are employed, and 63 percent pursued higher education opportunities that weren't available to them before their temporary legal status was granted.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, is the ranking Senate minority member. He said in a recorded statement that the almost 800,000 DACA recipients nationwide are needed to boost economies around the country.

"Our nation depends on the infusion of ideas, creativity and energy that immigrants bring with them,” Heinrich said. "To succeed in today's competitive global economy, the United States should be seeking to develop and attract the best talent in the world."

Adams said her committee found many DACA recipients have been able to take steps like purchasing cars and applying for credit, and are determined to become contributing members of their communities.

"We owe it to those individuals, but also to our communities, to make sure that we make provisions to keep people here,” Adams said. "They're not dragging the economy down - as a matter of fact, they're helping the economy."

Adams and her fellow Democrats estimate that the Dream Act will add almost $23 billion to the economy every year - if Congress can agree to keep it in place.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC