After several states including North Carolina challenged the extension of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans a preliminary injunction was issued holding up implementation of these immigration directives with the potential to reach 5 million immigrants without documents nationwide. While the issue is considered in the courts, the delay has real human, fiscal and economic costs.
As the Center for American Progress notes in their analysis:
The Council of Economic Advisers, or CEA, estimates that the November executive action providing deferred action to low-priority individuals will increase the national gross domestic product, or GDP, by nearly $60 billion over the next decade. In the aggregate, CEA estimates that the immigration directives will increase the GDP by $210 billion. As CAP demonstrated in a recent report, payroll tax revenues will increase $22.6 billion in five years and the solvency of the Social Security system will increase by $41 billion over 10 years as workers earn higher wages…State and local economies also stand to benefit immensely from the executive action.
Indeed, there are clear benefits to state and local economies to ensuring that these low-level undocumented immigrants can work and care for their families free from fear of deportation. As we have written about in the past, North Carolina is poised to benefit economically from these policies both through increased labor force participation and tax revenue. Not only are there estimated to be increases in state tax revenue but their participation in local economies as consumers is also important. That is in part why thirty-three mayors have filed an amici brief to urge the courts to lift the injunction: leaders of cities know that immigrants make an important contribution to their vibrancy.
Immigrants aren’t the only ones who will benefit. A study in North Carolina, for example, estimated that every one to two immigrant agricultural workers create one new American job. The reality is that the delay in moving forward with these immigration directives has costs not only in lost opportunities but in continuing the status quo. Deportation costs under the current system top $6.7 billion (estimate based on 2012 deportation figures) and proposals to deport all undocumented immigrants could cost more than $285 billion. Saving even a portion of current dollars spent on deportation by establishing temporary status for parents of Americans and children who arrived here would allow for investments in core services—education, infrastructure– that build economic opportunity.
Moving forward in the implementation of these immigration directives is critical for the state’s pursuit of a stronger economy that works for everyone.