On Tuesday the Justice Department announced that the administration is ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country. However, Congress is being given six months to possibly save the policy. “Under the plan, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration will stop considering new applications for legal status dated after Tuesday, but will allow any DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal.”
President Trump issued a statement following Sessions’ remarks where he stated “I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.” However, critics of the President’s actions are skeptical that Congress would be able to put a plan in place in such short period of time.
If there is no plan to replace DACA, on March 5, 2018, recipients will be forced to give up work authorizations and as a result unable to work on the books. This would mean that hundreds of thousands of young immigrants would either be forced out of work or have to work off the books and consequently not be able to get paid a fair wage, file taxes, or even get a mortgage to purchase a home. This could affect up to 800,000 people and their families.
But this could also have an affect in other unforeseen ways on the economy. From a housing perspective many subcontractors who contribute to building homes around the country could be taken off the job and force home builders to look for other workers who have not been active in the business. If it becomes more difficult to find good workers home builders will feel the squeeze from the lack of quality contractors and consequently have to raise the price on homes to cover their losses. The cost then gets passed on to the consumer. There is a real trickle down effect to this decision if there isn’t a valuable solution in place by March 5th of 2018.
“The loss of those workers, and the paychecks they earn, would dampen the American economy, hitting hardest in states like California and Florida with the largest share of DACA participants, according to groups that support the protection of those immigrants from deportation.”
“A report last month from FWD.us, a pro-immigration reform group co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg, found that 91 percent of DACA recipients are employed. Canceling the program would mean roughly 30,000 a month would lose their work permits as their DACA status expires, the report said.”
In North Carolina, almost half of the construction crews who work on home sites are immigrants and the impact on the real estate industry would be felt across the country. According to a CNBC chart North Carolina could see an annual estimated loss of $1.2 billion, with California at the top of the chart with a potential $11.3 billion loss.
Former President Obama, on Tuesday, commented on his successor’s decision via a Facebook post calling it “cruel” and self-defeating.” He’s goes on to say “the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”