Here’s some data on DACA

EDITOR:

Dear Rep. Bergman:

You indicated at the Soo ‘public engagement’ event Jan. 25, 2018, that you’re a “data driven man,” When asked what your position is in regards to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, you hedged and said that you don’t support any particular group over a comprehensive immigration plan. I would like to provide you with some data regarding DACA.

A total of 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants who are enrolled or eligible for DACA contribute $2 billion a year in taxes, state and local, according to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy. More than 75 percent of DACA permit holders are employed and despite their tax contributions, they are not necessarily eligible for the benefits their tax money goes toward. For example, DACA recipients are not eligible for Obamacare or Medicaid.

Overall, undocumented immigrants paid $13 billion into the retirement trust fund but will only receive $1 billion in benefits, the Social Security Administration estimated. Dreamers do not all get a free ride to college, as some claim. Undocumented college students, DACA or not, are not eligible for federal financial aid. Some states allow them to pay in-state tuition and a few offer state-sponsored aid. At least seven states prohibit undocumented immigrants from attending college as residents and some private institutions enroll them as international students where they pay higher tuition.

Attorney General Sessions’ argument that there is only a fixed number of jobs to go around has been widely rejected by economists. In response, former Congressionsl Budget Office director and conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin observed that there is no compelling proof that immigration, authorized or not, “squeezes out native-born workers in any systematic way.” Immigration actually has a positive effect on economic growth because immigrants are both workers and consumers. A larger working-age population means the economy can produce more goods and services, while supporting a higher demand for those goods and services.

Deporting DACA recipients is not only cruel (personal opinion) but would be economically costly: it loses government revenue and wastes taxpayer dollars deporting contributing members of our communities without making the country any safer. According to USA Today, there is no comprehensive study analyzing costs of deportation but they have come up with an average of $4,800 per apprehension, $180/day for detention (average detention stay is 30 days), with a total of $10,854 per deportation in fiscal year 2017.

Teresa Ross,

Escanaba