An executive’s job is to make tough decisions and convince people to follow you. That’s what CEOs are hired to do — and it’s what we elect presidents to do. By punting the legal status of young immigrants to Congress without offering his own proposal, President Trump has failed an important test of executive leadership. But his failure is Congress’s opportunity.
The administration’s threat to rescind the legal status of 800,000 individuals brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents would be a monumentally bad economic decision that — in its cruelty toward innocent people — would also be patently un-American. Business leaders I speak with from around the country, and from every major industry, understand that deporting these young people would adversely affect the labor supply as well as consumer demand. Growth would suffer, innovation would move overseas, and the future of our country would be dimmer.
There is no sound economic case to be made for deporting a young, productive workforce and surrendering the real benefits they provide our country. According to a new analysis by New American Economy, a coalition of business leaders I co-chair, the young people who qualify for the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, earn almost $20 billion in income annually. They pay more than $3 billion in local, state and federal taxes, and they contribute almost $2 billion to Social Security and $470 million to Medicare. Another study found that passing a DREAM Act to keep young immigrants here instead of sending them abroad would pump over $300 billion into the U.S. economy over the next two decades.
A version of the column is available in Spanish here at ElFinanciero.com