JEFFERSON-President Trump’s intent to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has caught the ire of at least one justice advocacy organization, which has also provided statistics on how this decision could affect local citizens and Ashe County’s economy.
“Amidst the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey on the eastern coast of Texas – and the likely imminent hit to Florida by Hurricane Irma – the Trump administration has dealt another strong and patently unnecessary blow to immigrant communities across the country today by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” the N.C. Justice Center said in a release.
The N.C. Justice Center calls itself “a leading progressive research and advocacy organization” with the stated mission and intent to end poverty” by “ensuring that every household in the state has access to the resources, services and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security.”
The DACA program protected from deportation immigrant youth brought to the U.S. as children, allowing them to continue their contributions to the fabric of our communities. With DACA, recipients were able to work and remain legally in the U.S. DACA has been an unqualified economic and educational success, and the program’s formation was and remains well within the executive authority of the President, said the organization in a prepared statement.
In North Carolina, the DACA program has helped approximately 28,000 individuals, many of whom graduated from state schools and used DACA to continue their education, work to support their families, and otherwise contribute to the economic prosperity of our state.
“The President’s actions not only harm the individuals who benefited from DACA, but will also jeopardize the economic well-being of all North Carolinians as thousands of these workers lose their jobs. DACA recipients will be forced back into the underground economy – making them vulnerable to exploitation – in turn driving down wages and working conditions for all workers,” said the center.
Aside from immense human suffering, the elimination of the DACA program could also have a negative impact on the state’s overall economy, as immigrant labor contributes immeasurable contributions to the state’s workforce, said the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.
According to a fact sheet by from the BTC, 7.3 percent of North Carolina citizens are immigrants.
North Carolina immigrants are more likely to have an advanced degree – but less likely to have a bachelor’s degree – than U.S.-born North Carolinians.
Furthermore, more than 69 percent of immigrants in North Carolina ages 5 years and older speak English “well” or “very well,” said the BTC.
Contributions by immigrants who are innovators and small-business owners have also left a noticeable impact on the state’s economy.
One in 10 workers ages 18 to 64 and 1 in 10 small-business owners are immigrants in N.C. Also, immigrants account for 8 percent or nearly $11 billion of the state’s total economic output.
Locally, 3.9 percent of North Carolinians in Ashe County are immigrants, up from 1.9 percent in 2000. Additionally, 17.6 percent of immigrants in Ashe County are naturalized citizens and able to vote and engage in the policy-making process. Forty-three percent of immigrants in Ashe County entered the U.S. before 2000. Altogether, 82 percent of the county’s immigrant population is comprised of Latin Americans.
Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.