The economic benefits of passing the DREAM Act
Until now, much of the debate surrounding the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act—a bill to provide a pathway to legal status for eligible young people who were brought here as children and who complete high school and some college or military service—focused on legal, ethical, and logistical concerns. But there are other important benefits of enacting the DREAM Act, most importantly the boost to the economy.
This report takes a close look at this economic perspective. We present an analysis to understand what would happen if the United States were to grant a pathway to legal status to an estimated 2.1 million eligible youth in our country by passing the DREAM Act. Overall, we find that the passage of the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030, demonstrating the potential of the proposed law to boost economic growth and improve our nation’s fiscal health.
In making these projections we used American Community Survey data from 2006 to 2010 to calculate the number of eligible unauthorized youth that would qualify for the DREAM Act—creating the largest dataset of unauthorized immigrants to date—and then put the data into a robust model of the likely educational and job attainment potential of eligible DREAMers to estimate their likely future earnings. This model takes into account factors such as educational level, age, sex, race and ethnicity, and constitutes our estimate of the direct economic consequences of the DREAM Act. This is similar to the methodology used by education economist Luis Crouch and many of his colleagues in the field.
Read more at the Center For American Progress