A Million Dreams; Let’s Talk DACA
Today is the 10th anniversary of DACA, the Obama-era executive order allowing the children of illegal immigrants who were not born in the US to remain here without the risk of deportation. Study after study, including one by the Cato Institute, have shown that the nearly 600,000 DACA recipients give more than they get by having work authorization along with the forbearance of deportation. DACA recipients contribute over $6 billion in federal taxes and $3 billion in state and local taxes every year; they have over $25 billion in spending power; they make over $760 million in mortgage payments and $2.5 billion in rental payments; and they have over 300,000 children. If DACA families were an “addressable market,” many investors would find it very attractive.
As hard working as DACA recipients are, they remain in limbo without a legislative solution to securing their residency and work status in sight. This limbo has a strong effect on DACA recipients’ mental health and ability to plan for the future. Initially, the DACA program boosted recipients’ mental health by relieving the stress associated with undocumented legal status. However, as challenges to DACA have emerged during the last Administration and recipients have gotten older with roots in the US growing deeper and deeper, the stress has returned and inhibits this group from fully committing to their lives as Americans. It’s difficult to think about starting a business or pursuing advanced degrees if the possibility of deportation or the rescission of work authorization could come at any moment.
The uncertainty facing the DACA program is only one facet of the uncertainty resulting from America’s immigration policy and positioning that, basically, says no to immigration. According to the Census Bureau, levels of immigration hit 247,000 in 2021, a level well below the 1,000,000 legally entering the US in 2015. A study by a couple of UC Davis economists puts the immigration shortfall over the last two years at 2 million and shows the negative effect on the labor market. Not only are millions of families denied the opportunity to start new lives in the US, but US employers, especially in the healthcare, hospitality, and retail sectors, denied the ability to hire willing and able workers. With a labor market facing 3.6% unemployment and two jobs for every job seeker, it’s no wonder that inflation has plenty of fuel to feed its fire. Perhaps in addition to raising interest rates, the Federal Government could ease the pressure in the labor market by calling for a pathway to citizenship for DACA and refuge-seeking families and resume a healthy, generous immigration program again.
Kate Starr, Chief Investment Officer
Respite from deportation only applies to the specific members of the DACA cohort. There’s another generation of young people who are not protected by DACA and are coming of age. Without protection, their lives in America will be lived in the shadows.
Foundations focused on issues facing immigrants and refugees published an analysis that showed community-based credit unions have served as responsive sources of consumer and business support and funding for DACA recipients and immigrants in general. For example, Latino Community Credit Union is a well established credit union founded in Durham, NC that has a 20+ year track record in serving Latino families and businesses and offers several ways to invest and generate positive returns in the community.
One of the biggest advertisements for how immigrants can influence American affairs is the musical, Hamilton. Its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, also produced this video by K’naan that explores the contemporary immigrant experience.
This newsletter is intended solely for informational purposes, and should not be construed as investment/trading advice and are not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any securities mentioned. Any reproduction or distribution of this document, in whole or in part, or the disclosure of its contents, without the prior written consent of Flat World Partners is prohibited
Forwarded this message? Subscribe Here!
Copyright © 2022 Flat World Partners, All rights reserved.