On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), stripping nearly 800,000 young immigrants of their authorization to work and putting them at risk of being removed from their loved ones and the country they call home. As members of Delivering on the Dream, a 15-state network of funders that has supported DACA implementation, we are deeply troubled and disheartened by this decision. The impact is devastating, not just for immigrant communities but for our society.
Since 2012, Delivering on the Dream has invested and leveraged more than $42 million for outreach, education, and legal services to ensure that eligible immigrants could apply for DACA. The wisdom of our investments has been consistently affirmed over time: Equipped with renewable work permits and temporarily protected from deportation, DACA recipients furthered their education, pursued careers, and enriched the civic and cultural life of communities across the country.
DACA beneficiaries grew up as our friends and neighbors. They have lived, learned, and labored alongside other immigrants, refugees, and native-born Americans. Some have served in the armed forces, while others have volunteered as emergency rescuers, most recently aiding those stranded in the path of Hurricane Harvey. And they have contributed their skills and talents as employees of major U.S. companies and as entrepreneurs who created jobs and fueled innovation.
Rescinding this successful program denies immigrants who have DACA the opportunity for a brighter future, drives them out of the workforce, and inflicts a tremendous economic cost. Ending DACA wipes away $460.3 billion from the United States gross domestic product and $24.6 billion in Medicare and Social Security contributions over the next decade. Specific industries will be particularly hard hit. Approximately one-fifth of DACA beneficiaries surveyed indicated that they work in education or health care, which could mean a loss of essential positions such as teachers and nursing assistants.
Delivering on the Dream funders are diverse in geographic focus, priorities, and strategies, but we are united in our belief that DACA recipients are valued community members who are integral to our shared prosperity and vitality. We are inspired by the courage and resilience of DACA beneficiaries and stand by them and their families. We remain committed to our grantee partners, and we urge our grantmaking colleagues across the country to join us in funding critical legal services, mental health supports, advocacy, and other efforts to assist DACA beneficiaries and their families at this time of great need.
View all of the signatories by visiting Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)’s website here.