Data Show Legalizing DREAMers Would Have Little Effect on Displacing U.S.-Born Millennials from Jobs
WASHINGTON — Amid debate over legalization for unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children, concern has been raised that these DREAMers, once legalized, would take jobs away from U.S. citizens, in particular black and other minority populations. A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) commentary, which examines the characteristics of DREAMers and the similarly aged U.S. millennial population, finds no evidence to support concerns over widespread job competition.
Participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the broader DREAMer cohort represent a tiny share of the overall and labor force populations in the 16-32 age range, are concentrated in different states than the white and black millennial populations, and are employed in different industries than their U.S.-born millennial counterparts.
“Taken together, these facts suggest that the claims of widespread negative competitive economic impacts being raised by DREAM legalization critics are unfounded,” write MPI Senior Fellow Michael Fix and Senior Policy Analyst Jeanne Batalova.
Based on analysis of Census Bureau and other data, the authors report that:
- The 690,000 unauthorized immigrants who currently have DACA represent less than 1 percent of the 54 million millennials in the U.S. workforce, and the 1.3 million who could qualify for legalization under the DREAM Act of 2017 represent just 2 percent of millennials nationwide.
- DACA recipients are concentrated in a few states—59 percent live in California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida—while those states are home to 33 percent of millennials who are black and 28 percent who are white.
- DACA recipients are more likely than the overall millennial population to work in hospitality and construction, and less likely to work in education, health and social services. DACA recipients already have work authorization and represent the core of the DREAM-eligible population, so their industries of employment provide a reasonable predictor of future sectoral distribution of other DREAMers.
Today, MPI is also releasing its latest, most updated data tool on DACA recipients, examining participation rates at U.S. and state levels, as well as by country of origin. Access the data tool at: www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca-profiles.
Amid ongoing legislative and public debate over DREAMers, the commentary and data tool represent the latest MPI offerings to provide accurate facts and thoughtful analysis to inform the discussion. Last week, MPI published a commentary examining the extent to which passage of the DREAM Act would spur “chain migration.” While critics contend that each legalized DREAMer would sponsor as many as 6.4 relatives over his or her lifetime, MPI offered a detailed analysis showing how this population is different in its characteristics from the general unauthorized population, and would sponsor at most about 1 relative per person on average.
To read today’s commentary, see: www.migrationpolicy.org/news/will-dreamers-crowd-us-born-millennials-out-jobs.
For other DACA/DREAM resources, including estimates of the populations that could gain legalization under each of the DREAM Act-type bills pending in Congress, visit: www.migrationpolicy.org/topics/dream-actdeferred-action.
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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at local, national and international levels.