Study shows employment, wage and educational gains for DACA recipients

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The debate over DACA can be intensely personal, especially when a change in policy can have such a profound effect on lives.

While many immigration rights advocates staunchly defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, there are also academics who say the immigration policy has produced tangible and substantial benefits for the American economy.

Tom Wong, a political science professor at the University of California in San Diego has conducted numerous studies on the economic, employment, educational, and societal impacts of the program, which was initiated through an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012.

The UCSD professor is the author of four different studies on DACA recipients, including the largest one ever conducted. In 2017, he studied more than 3,000 respondents in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The data illustrate that DACA recipients continue to make positive contributions to the economy. Wong and his fellow researchers found that the work authorization provided by DACA was critical in helping DACA recipients participate more fully in the labor force, with 91 percent currently employed.

Among the respondents age 25 and older, employment jumped to 93 percent. Wong says the data made clear that DACA  had a positive and significant effect on wages. The average hourly wage of respondents increased by 69 percent since receiving DACA, rising from $10.29 an hour to $17.46 an hour.

Among the top 25 fortune 500 companies, at least 72 percent have DACA recipients in their workforce. The research also found that DACA had an impact on education and achievement goals. 45 percent of the respondents are currently in school, and among those enrolled in school, 72 percent are planning on obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher. 94 percent said that because of DACA, they pursued educational opportunities that they previously could not. Wong says when considering the contributions these individuals make to the local, state and national economies, terminating the DACA program is not good policy.

Among DACA recipients, Wong said, “With their work authorization, they are earning increasing amounts of money because they are finding jobs that better fit their skill sets.” Wong says that benefits the tax revenues for state and federal governments.

Because the average age of DACA recipients was just 6 and a half years old when they came to the U.S. Wong noted, “These young people who are just beginning to hit their stride in their careers and their lives are American in every sense of the word, but for a piece of paper that says that they were born here.”

Wong said that previous research by a different group has shown that DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460 billion to the UI.S. gross domestic product over the next decade- economic gains that would be lost should DACA be eliminated.

Among the respondents age 25 and older, employment jumped to 93 percent. Wong says the data made clear that DACA  had a positive and significant effect on wages.

The average hourly wage of respondents increased by 69 percent since receiving DACA, rising from $10.29 an hour to $17.46 an hour. Among the top 25 fortune 500 companies, at least 72 percent have DACA recipients in their workforce.

The research also found that DACA had an impact on education and achievement goals. 45 percent of the respondents are currently in school, and among those enrolled in school, 72 percent are planning on obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher. 94 percent said that because of DACA, they pursued educational opportunities that they previously could not. Wong says when considering the contributions these individuals make to the local, state and national economies, terminating the DACA program is not good policy.

Among DACA recipients, Wong said, “With their work authorization, they are earning increasing amounts of money because they are finding jobs that better fit their skill sets.” Wong says that benefits the tax revenues for state and federal governments.

Because the average age of DACA recipients was just 6 and a half years old when they came to the U.S. Wong noted, “These young people who are just beginning to hit their stride in their careers and their lives are American in every sense of the word, but for a piece of paper that says that they were born here.”

Wong said that previous research by a different group has shown that DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460 billion to the UI.S. gross domestic product over the next decade-economic gains that would be lost should DACA be eliminated.

  

Categories: Local San Diego News