On June 4, 2019, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, with a bipartisan 237 to 187 majority. As explained here, the bill would provide a path to permanent residency and eventual U.S. citizenship to immigrants who arrived here as children and who have grown up in the U.S., including those currently holding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. It would do the same for those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who have held that status for years.
Right now, only federal court orders are preventing the government from forcing about 1 million DACA and TPS holders to leave the U.S. With our aging population, shrinking labor pool, and low birth rates, the economic costs to the nation would be enormous. The American Action Forum estimated conservatively that
DACA recipients have a net positive fiscal impact of $3.4 billion each year and contribute nearly $42 billion to annual GDP. Failing to extend DACA protections would eliminate these benefits, and physically removing DACA recipients would impose an additional cost of between $7 and $21 billion.
For TPS holders, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center estimated the economic costs of their removal from the country, and found that
▪ Deporting all Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders would cost taxpayers $3.1 billion dollars.
▪ Ending TPS for these three countries would result in a $6.9 billion reduction to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade.
▪ Ending TPS for these three countries would lead to a $45.2 billion reduction in GDP over a decade.
▪ The wholesale lay-off of the entire employed TPS population from these three countries would result in $967 million of turnover costs.
And of course, these costs don’t include the social and moral costs to our communities in which these individuals are our neighbors, family members, collegues, employees, employers, volunteers, and parents of U.S. citizen children.
MeBIC applauds Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden for supporting L.D. 6. It was the right vote for Maine communities, for Maine’s economy, and for the nation.
Now the ball is in the Senate’s court. S. 874, the bipartisan Dream Act of 2019 is a good starting point. Let’s urge them to do the right thing and pick it up.