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Ending DACA will cost the Rust Belt $2.7 billion

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  • Ana Campoy
By Ana Campoy

Deputy editor, global finance and economics

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Donald Trump would like to kill the immigrant protection program known as DACA—but it’s the states that voted for him that will pay the bill.

DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, protects undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. Ending it would remove an estimated 40,000 workers from the labor force in Rust Belt states. That includes places such as Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which flipped to the Republican party during the 2016 presidential election.

The cost of shedding those workers would be up to $2.7 billion in lost economic activity and taxes, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank based in Washington D.C. Not all immigrants with DACA protections work—some are students or are underage—but the bulk of them do.

Here’s how each state would fare:

StateDACA recipientsEstimated DACA workersLoss from removing DACA workers (million)
Indiana 9,840 8,561 $516
Iowa 2,798 2,434 $188
Michigan 6,430 5,594 $419
Minnesota 6,255 5,442 $377
Missouri 3,524 3,066 $209
Ohio 4,442 3,865 $252
Pennsylvania 5,889 5,123 $357
Wisconsin 7,565 6,582 $427

The hit would be bigger in states with more DACA recipients. Texas, for example, stands to lose more than 100,000 workers who contribute $6.3 billion to the economy. But Texas, and the South more generally, are in a much better position to make up for the losses. That region, along with the West, has been adding workers at a fast clip over the past few decades.

The labor forces of the Midwest and the Northeast, however, have been mostly stagnant.

In other words, those places need all the Dreamers they can get. That’s something Trump should consider as he weighs what to do next on DACA, which is currently in a state of legal limbo.

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