Long Island stands to lose close to $387 million in annual gross domestic product if young workers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were removed from the country’s workforce, according to recent data published by the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and the Center for American Progress (CAP).
In Rep. Lee Zeldin’s 1st Congressional District, there are an estimated 1,200 DACA recipients, contributing $78.1 million in GDP.
In Rep. Peter King’s territory, the 2nd Congressional District, there are about 1,900 DACA recipients, with a potential $123 million loss, making it the district with the most to lose.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi, representing the 3rd Congressional District, has 1,300 DACA recipients in his district with approximately $82.2 million in projected GDP losses. However, it should be noted that Suozzi’s district does include some parts of eastern Queens.
And for the 4th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Kathleen Rice, there are about 1,600 DACA recipients, with $104.5 million at stake.
The data clearly illustrates what was already hinted at by the countless anecdotal stories of hard-working, young Dreamers: that they make up a foundational part of Long Island’s local economy.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to urge our representatives to support a clean DREAM Act.
If we passed the bill, and placed eligible workers on a pathway toward legal status, that would add $22.7 billion each year for the country’s GDP as a whole, according to a September CAP study. And, as the gains would increase every year, the total increase over the span of 10 years would amount to $281 billion.
But, most of all, DACA recipients could finally breathe a little easier, start to cast away the shadow of fear, and contribute even more of their talents toward the sustainability and prosperity of our local communities and the country as a whole.