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Ending the ‘Dreamers’ Program Could Cost Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

August 31, 2017, 4:16 PM UTC

The United States could lose up to 700,000 jobs and suffer billions of dollars in lost economic output if President Donald Trump ends a program granting work permits to the children of undocumented immigrants, a new report finds.

The report examines the potential economic consequences of cancelling the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors are eligible to apply for a renewable work permit protecting them from deportation. Approximately 800,000 people, sometimes called “dreamers,” have benefitted from DACA, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

An average of 30,000 workers could lose their jobs every month if DACA were repealed or permit renewals were held up, the report found. It also estimated that the loss of those workers could cost the country $460.3 billion in economic output over the next decade, with Medicare and Social Security contributions dropping by $24.6 billion.

The report was published by progressive advocacy group Center for American Progress and, a pro-DACA group founded by tech leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“Ending DACA would place severe economic strain on businesses around the country, putting them into the impossible and extremely costly position of having to fire productive employees for no other reason than an arbitrary change in federal policy, potentially resulting in backlash from other employees, or their broader community,” the report reads.

The findings come as a group of state’s attorneys has threatened to sue the White House over DACA if it isn’t halted by September 5, calling the program “unlawful.” “DACA unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement in June.

Trump has not yet made a decision about DACA’s fate, according to the White House.

“This has been a very lengthy review and it’s certainly not over. It’s something that is still being discussed and a final decision hasn’t been made,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.