Dream Act Would Boost NY Economy and Tax Revenues

Revoking DACA Hurts Both


The Dream Act would allow immigrants in New York to contribute more fully to the state economy, boosting longterm state’s $1.5 trillion GDP by at least $1.8 billion a year, and increasing state and local tax revenues in New York by $62 million, according to a report released today by the Fiscal Policy Institute that draws on analyses from the Center for American Progress and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The Dream Act would make it possible for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to live and pursue their careers here without fear. Immigrants who are already in the state could find jobs that better match their skill level, boosting the output of New York’s businesses and increasing both the immigrants’ salaries and the state’s tax revenues.

The Congressional Budget Office recently released a study of the impact of the Dream Act that did not look at the economic gains, but found that at the federal level there would be an increase in both tax revenues and government spending, with a net addition to the deficit of about $25 billion.

“There would be increased costs as well as increased revenues in New York, too,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute. “As at the federal level, those would be largely investments in future economic growth and in the health of our population.”

Advocates are pressing harder than ever for a Dream Act because of the situation created when President Trump revoked DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which grants immigrant youth temporary relief from deportation and gives them authorization to work lawfully in this country. Around the country, 800,000 people were eligible for DACA, including 76,000 in New York State.

“Congress really needs to implement a solution that will bring back stability into these young immigrants’ lives,” said Cyierra Roldan, policy analyst at the Fiscal Policy Institute. “Their world was disrupted by the termination of DACA, when suddenly they had to fear of being deported to a country that is foreign to them.”

In fact, the GDP growth could be considerably higher than $1.8 billion, the report shows. The GDP growth might be more likely to be $5.8 billion if half of the young people who qualify for the Dream Act wind up going to college, a highly reasonable proposition.

Beyond that, added Kallick, “here’s what you can’t account for in any model: two or three of these Dreamers may be the ones to start the next Google or Tesla or PayPal. You can’t make a calculation that predicts how many new companies like that there will be. But you can pretty well bet on the idea that this country will provide a fertile ground for that kind of vibrant entrepreneurship.”

Click here to read the full New York State report.