Home > News

Why Let DREAMers Steal $750 Billion From Americans?

Article author: 
Edwin S. Rubenstein
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
October 13, 2017
Article category: 
Immigration Impact
Article Body: 

... How much have DACA recipients stolen? Look at one government program from which the DACA population benefitted because of the U.S Supreme Court’s disastrous (and eminently reversible)1982 Plyler v Doe decision:  free public education.

The DACA population numbers about 790,000. This represents about 5% of total U.S High School enrollment. The non-DACA contingent—about 14.4 million High Schoolers—were and remain de facto victims of the program. The resources and time devoted to their education have been diminished by the needs of catering to program enrollees.

American parents are also victims: they subsidize DACA student via higher school property taxes.

The 2017 National DACA Study [PDF]  finds that the average age of the DACAs is 25.2 years, their avg. age at arrival is 6.5 years. Thus, as of August 2017, the average time a DACA has been in the U.S. is 18.7 years (25.2 less 6.5.)

I estimate their average time in K-12 to be 11.5 years, on the assumption they were enrolled upon arrival at age 6.5, and graduated HS at age 18. Accordingly:

K-12 Education spending:  $111.6 billion over 11.5 years (calculated by multiplying the $12,300 per student K-12 annual cost figure times 790,000 DACAs, times 11.5, the number of years the average DACA was enrolled in K-12.

Obviously, with the DACA population averaging 25.2 years old, some are now in college.  I make no attempt to estimate the college tuition subsidy, especially considering in-state tuition enacted by some states, which could easily exceed K-12 costs on an annual basis. So my education cost estimate is conservative.


State and Local Spending (the non-K-12 part):  $111.9 billion over 18.7 years. This calculated by multiplying the DACA share of the total US population (0.24%—or 790,000 as a percent of 325.4 million) times $2.5 trillion—annual state and local spending, excluding K-12, over the average time a DACA has been in the U.S.—18.7 years (25.2 less 6.5.).

This $111.9 billion total includes state and local government spending on welfare, health, hospitals, highways, fire and police departments, jails, housing, water supply, transit, debt service, and other state and local government non-education spending.

Note that I make no attempt at apportion the ongoing cost of keeping DACA recipients in the country, assuming their Amnesty is made permanent.


Federal spending: $165.7 billion over 18.7 years. (Calculated by multiplying the DACA share of US population (0.24%) times total Federal Spending – $3.7 trillion in FY2017)

Note again that I make no attempt at apportion the ongoing cost of keeping DACA recipients in the country, assuming their Amnesty is made permanent.


Income lost annually by non-DACA workers (immigrant and native) who compete with DACAs in the workplace: $9.9 billion per year

DACA enrollees are granted work permits and shielded from deportation...

How to estimate the size of the DACA-related wage decline? Following George Borjas, every 10% increase in the immigrant share of the workforce lowers wages of competitors by about 3.5%. [Immigration and the American Worker, By George Borjas, CIS, April 9, 2013 (PDF)] Let’s assume the DREAmers’ closest competitors are immigrants already working here, specifically immigrants with only HS degrees, or HS and some college. There were 7,366,000 of them in 2016, making an average $36,400 a year—according to BLS. So those 790,000 DACAs will expand the relevant immigrant workforce by 10.7%, triggering a 3.7% reduction in wages.

Over a 40-year working lifetime, DACAs will reduce income of non-DACA workers by about $396.6 billion.