This week, President Trump attempted to pull another thread out of the fabric of our communities when he announced he would end Presdient Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, in six months. Unless Congress steps in, ending the program could put nearly 800,000 undocumented young people at risk of deportation and unable to work legally when their two-year permits expire.
These are 800,000 young people in our communities who felt less marginalized, less disenfranchised, and less fearful because they were promised inclusion and access to inclusion.
In New Jersey alone, there is an estimated 22,000 New Jersey residents who have signed up and are currently being protected through DACA, according to NJ Spotlight, which allows participants to legally work, purchase property, and bank in the United States “without the fear of imminent deportation.”
Never mind the fact that ending DACA is morally and ethically vacant—something we’ve come to expect from this president—but it’s dreadful economic policy as well. A few things to consider:
- New Jersey’s DACA residents contribute more than $66 million in state and local taxes (the 7th highest in the nation), according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
- Hispanic consumers contributed more than $1.3 trillion to the United States economy in 2016, according to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
- Sales from Hispanic-owned businesses contribute more than $668 billion to the U.S. economy, an increase of 29 percent since 2012 and nearly twice the total in 2007.
- Generally, Hispanics contribute an estimated $46 billion in purchasing power to the New Jersey state economy.
This is the fabric of our communities. More, what is the point of destabilizing such an economic powerhouse? Why are Republicans in New Jersey’s Congressional delegation supporting Trump’s move? And you have to question their political motives when they take such reckless actions when Hispanics are solely responsible for New Jersey’s population growth since 2010, while the non-Hispanic population remains stagnant.
It just makes no sense intellectually, electorally, economically, socially, or morally. Tell your representatives that.
Photo: Carimer Andujar, the Rutgers chemical engineering student, immigrants rights activist, and enrollee in the DACA program, faced possible detention last May.