Of the many reasons for Las Vegas residents to demand that our national leaders save DACA, a prominent one is the effect that rescinding it would have on…
Of the many reasons for Las Vegas residents to demand that our national leaders save DACA — topped by the inhumane prospect of banishing people who’ve grown up in our community to places where they have practically no connection and can’t even speak the language — a prominent one is the effect that rescinding it would have on our economy.
It would be bad. For all of us.
Look no further than statements issued by MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment.
Those resort giants, which employ roughly 75,000 people in Southern Nevada, responded to President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by calling on Congress to pass immigration reform.
It’s unclear how many Dreamers are employed by MGM and Caesars, but it’s enough that the companies jumped into action. If congressional leaders and Trump can’t reach a deal and Trump follows through on ending the protective status, companies throughout Las Vegas could be forced to let their DACA employees go.
And those are just two Las Vegas employers. Heaven knows how many other businesses employ Dreamers. There are 13,000 Nevadans who are participating in DACA.
It’s no wonder employers want to protect them, because they’re an ideal employee pool. To gain protection under the program, they must have an almost spotless criminal record, and many of them have lived in the U. S. most of their lives. They’ve gone to American schools, grown up with American friends and gotten on the path of other young American adults who strive to go to college, earn a degree, get a good job and provide for their families.
Forcing them out of jobs makes no sense. Let’s count the ways:
• According to figures released by U. S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s office, repealing DACA would cost the U. S. economy $433 billion over the next decade. It would result in $19.9 billion of lost Social Security tax revenue and $4.6 billion in Medicare tax revenue.
• As noted by Brookings Institution experts John Hudak and Elaine Kamarck, the cost of deporting the nation’s 800,000 Dreamers would be staggering — nearly $10 billion. That number is based on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s own statistic showing that arresting and deporting an undocumented immigrant costs $12,500. Hudak and Kamarck note that the total ICE budget is $5 billion, and that money spent deporting Dreamers would take away from spending on targeting undocumented individuals involved in violent crimes and the drug trade.
• Employers would be forced to spend billions to recruit, hire and train employees to replace the Dreamers on their payrolls. Based on a report from the Center for American Progress, 91 percent of Dreamers are working and paying taxes, which translates to 728,000 of them in the U. S. workforce. Estimates of costs to replace employees are all over the board, but a Society for Human Resources Management report put the average at $4,129. Based on that figure, it would cost around $3 billion for businesses to replace Dreamers.
• Then there’s lost productivity. The SHRM report said employers spent an average of 42 days in finding, on-boarding and training replacement employees last year.
Trump’s supporters will say the president’s hand is being forced by threat of a lawsuit over DACA’s constitutionality, and there’s some truth to that. But there was no reason Trump couldn’t have worked with lawmakers on a fix without setting a cutoff date for protection and putting Dreamers in limbo.
Trump and Democratic congressional leaders have been negotiating a deal, which is good news. What’s not so good is that there have been mixed signals as to whether Trump is tying funding for his idiotic, unworkable border wall to the future of DACA.
DACA needs to be dealt with on its own, and its protections must be extended. It’s the moral thing to do for innocent people who were brought here by their parents, and it’s the wise thing to do for the economy.