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DREAM Act Would Create Jobs, Boost U.S. Economy, New Report Shows

By Laura DeKoven Waxman
October 15, 2012


Passage of the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030, according to a new report released September 28 by the Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy. The report, “The Economic Benefits of Passing the DREAM Act,” demonstrates the potential of the proposed law to boost economic growth and improve the nation’s fiscal health. Previous arguments in support of it have focused on legal, ethical, and logistical concerns.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would provide a pathway to legal status for eligible young people who were brought to the United States as children and who complete high school and some college or military service. It was first introduced 11 years ago as bipartisan legislation by Senators Dick Durban (IL) and Orrin Hatch (UT). The Conference of Mayors strongly supports its passage.

The report projects that the DREAM Act would provide legal status to 2.1 million young people. It explains that the DREAM Act’s educational requirements (completion of high school and some college) would increase their educational attainment and that this along with legal status would open access to higher-paying jobs. The report finds that “by 2030 the eligible DREAMer population will earn 19 percent more in earnings than without passage of the DREAM Act, in turn increasing their consumption and contributing more in the way of tax revenue to the federal government.”

“This report proves a fundamental truth about the contributions of immigrants to the American economy: We absolutely need them to continue our economic growth,” said New York City Mayor and Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair Michael R. Bloomberg. “Whether it’s the DREAM Act or STEM visa legislation, Washington must enact immigration policy changes that will create American jobs and boost our economy.”

DREAMers “are committed young Americans who’ve worked hard and want to keep working, learning, and living in the only country they know,” commented Conference of Mayors Immediate Past President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa during the report’s release. “If the commitment and drive of the DREAMers isn’t enough to convince us that the DREAM act is wise policy, today’s report will remove all doubt. It is in our nation’s best economic interest to put these kids in the classrooms of today so that they can lead our nation in the boardrooms of tomorrow,” he continued.

The report is available online at http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DREAMEcon-7.pdf