BTC BRIEF: DACA & North Carolina’s Workforce

By Alexandra F. Sirota, Budget & Tax Center Director
December 2017
Congress has just a few days left this month to enact legislation that would address the immigration status of at least 1 million immigrants who arrived in this country as children after President Trump announced in September his plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. Failure to act will mean that beginning on March 6, 2018, 915 people on average will fall out of DACA status each day.
Recently released data from the Migration Policy Institute provides additional insight into the specific impact to industries in North Carolina of the failure to find a legislative solution for young immigrants. Inaction in the effort to identify a pathway for young immigrants to achieve legal status to work, learn and participate fully in communities will cause well-documented economic harm to the growth, revenue and earnings in the country and North Carolina.
Beyond the harm to business and the economy, the lived experience for tens of thousands of young people in North Carolina of losing status and the connection to opportunities in the state they call home will ripple through families and communities.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was initially introduced through an Executive Order in 2012 by President Obama to address the needs of some  undocumented immigrants who had arrived to the United States as minors – a subpopulation within the undocumented immigrant community. DACA provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization (applicants must apply for renewal after two years), and has led to an increase in employment opportunities and participation in higher education among many beneficiaries.
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