NEW YORK — Data about the impact of immigrants and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) on West Virginia's economy is part of today's iMarch for Immigration, a 50-state campaign calling for a congressional solution to the impasse over the measure also known as the DREAM Act by year's end.
New American Economy (NAE)'s iMarch for Immigration arrived today as lawmakers in the nation's capital continue negotiations over a solution for the 1.3 million recipients of DACA. DACA is an Obama-era policy that permits those who came into the U.S. illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year deferred action from deportation and eligibility to work legally in the U.S.
President Donald Trump rescinded the measure earlier this year.
DACA participants also contributed billions of dollars to the nation's economy, according to NAE's embargoed press release issued just prior to the iMarch.
"These contributions become even more significant when you look at how this population is affecting local economies," the press release said.
Part of its campaign today was the NAE's release of updated data about immigrants' contributions to West Virginia's economy. Immigrants in West Virginia paid $263.6 million in taxes in 2014 and wielded $697.3 million in spending power over the same year, according to the NAE's data. Immigrants in West Virginia number 31,974, with more than 9,863 people working in immigrant-owned firms throughout the state, the NAE's data also showed.
Since DACA was implemented, more than 100 young people in West Virginia have emerged from the shadows to pass background checks, and to legally live and work in the U.S., according to a fact sheet issued by the egalitarian labor rights group Interfaith Worker Justice. Ending DACA would cost the state more than $5.4 million in annual GDP losses, would remove an estimated 685,000 workers from the U.S. economy and would result in the loss of $460.3 billion in GDP nationwide over the next 10 years, according to the Interfaith Worker Justice fact sheet.
As the NAE's iMarch for Immigration got underway, Trump's administration continued to seek a DACA deal with Congress by year's end.
The NAE also is expected to release an interactive map of immigration stories from all 435 congressional districts and to coordinate events around the country, including statements issued in West Virginia supporting DACA, according to the NAE press release.