Should pro-deportation Republicans ultimately succeed in their lawsuit seeking to terminate the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, that ruling will have devastating repercussions going far beyond the beneficiaries themselves.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) said in updated data that over 1.3 million people live in the same household as a DACA recipient, including 300,000 U.S. citizen children. In California and Texas alone, nearly 140,000 children have a parent protected by DACA.
Other key findings note that nearly one-half of states are home to at least 10,000 DACA beneficiaries, with Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New York, and North Carolina having double that amount. While undocumented immigrants are not their tax contributions, the fact is they do contribute, and a lot. “CAP analysis finds that DACA recipient households pay $6.2 billion in federal taxes and $3.3 billion in state and local taxes each year,” the report said.
Like previously noted, tens of thousands of DACA recipients have also been essential workers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. “This number includes 34,000 health care workers providing patient care and another 11,000 individuals working in health care settings keeping these facilities functioning.” Roughly 20,000 others, like Carlo Barrera and Maricruz R., are educators.
“I teach science to young children in New York City,” Barrera said in 2019. “We’ve started a new school year together. I’ve known some of these kids for years now. They depend on me to be there every single day for their education.” Maricruz labored as a farmworker before becoming an educator. “We are short on bilingual teachers,” she said in 2019. But the role she plays in the lives of the students also cuts much deeper. “Something I work on is to make them feel that they belong here,” she said.
But anti-immigrant Republicans including Texas’ Ken Paxton have again thrown the lives of Barrera, Maricruz, and hundreds of thousands of other DACA recipients into limbo, after a federal judge’s ruling against the policy in July. While immigrants already in the program can (for now) renew, new applications were halted. The Biden administration has since appealed this decision. “In response to this ruling, the Biden administration took steps to fortify and preserve DACA from these continual attacks through the federal rule-making process,” CAP said.
The updated CAP data comes as public comment on that proposed rule closed this week. Law360 reported that over 9,300 comments (including many from the Daily Kos community) were submitted ahead of the deadline.
“DACA has been a force for good in families and communities across the United States, and we see that year after year in the data. But the program remains under attack,” Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, report co-author and associate director for research on the Immigration Policy team at CAP, said in a statement received by Daily Kos. She urged lawmakers to enact permanent relief. “It’s long past time for Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, for Dreamers, and for all undocumented Americans.”
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