We strongly urge expeditious passage of a clean Dream Act into law, protecting young immigrants who were granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. We also urge continuation of legal protections for immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The small business community in particular has benefited from the contributions of DACA and TPS recipients, and work authorization has enabled immigrants to become small business owners and employees, and higher wages have enabled them to become small business customers, boosting local and national economic growth.
Since 2012, the DACA initiative has provided 800,000 immigrant youth with temporary protection from deportation and renewable work permits. One of DACA’s most critical features is the work authorization it provides recipients. Work authorization is critical to helping DACA recipients fully participate in the labor force, and has enabled DACA recipients to start their own businesses. A survey conducted by the Center for American Progress of DACA recipients found that they are starting small businesses at a higher rate than the general population. Five percent of respondents became small business owners after receiving DACA, compared three percent of the general population.
Overall, 87 percent of DACA recipients are currently employed, and many have found employment in small businesses. Small businesses thrive when they are able to hire skilled and committed employees, regardless of immigration status, and many of these employees are DACA recipients. Ending DACA would cause businesses to incur at least $3.4 billion in turnover costs.
DACA has also had a significant positive impact on wages. The average hourly wage of recipients increased by 69 percent after receiving DACA. As DACA workers earn higher wages, they purchase more goods and services from small businesses and helping to fuel economic growth. Small businesses rely on a strong economy to provide a robust and sustainable customer base. Without DACA, U.S. gross domestic product would be reduced by $433.4 billion over the following 10 years.
As DACA recipients receive higher wages, they also pay more in taxes, increasing local, state and federal tax revenues. Ending DACA would reduce contributions to Social Security and Medicare by $24.6 billion over the next decade. As wages disappear and tax revenue dries up, the ripple effect of slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs from the economy would hit Main Street small businesses hard.
TPS recipients also significantly contribute to the U.S. economy. Most TPS recipients are from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, and if they were removed from the labor force, the country would lose $164 billion in GDP over the next 10 years. Terminating TPS for these three countries would also result in a $6.9 billion loss to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade. Finally, businesses would experience nearly $1 billion in turnover costs.
There is no question that ending DACA and TPS for will destroy lives and tear apart families and communities, but it would also devastate the national economy and small businesses. DACA and TPS recipients are small business owners, small business employees and small business customers. On behalf of the thousands of Main Street small business owners we represent, we urge you to pass a clean Dream Act into law, ensuring legal protections for young immigrants, and continue legal protections for individuals with Temporary Protected Status.