PHOENIX - In Arizona and across the country, so-called Dreamers are protesting what could be the end of DACA. It’s the program that allows them to live and work in the United States legally.
If and when DACA ends, it could be bad for business. Business leaders say this is especially true in the Grand Canyon State, that’s home to about 28,000 Dreamers.
“We know that if DACA ends, it'll be very harmful for the Arizona economy,” President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry Glenn Hamer told 12 News.
The Chamber represents more than a hundred businesses and a quarter million workers. Its leader is speaking out against ending DACA, for fear of what it might do to the state's economy, which is thriving and close to full employment.
“It's a question of exactly how much the harm would be,” Hamer said. “But if you pull 30,000 productive people out of an economy, you know you're going to harm it.”
Nationally, the economic harm of ending DACA could cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
More than 91 percent of the 800,000 dreamers in the U.S. are employed, according to the Center for American Progress. In the last week, more than 400 business leaders have signed a letter. It says if DACA ends, “our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.”
“It's also important to point out, these good people that are doing these productive things,” Hamer said. “If we fix this problem, they will be productive members of our labor force and society for decades to come.”
Hamer also said he’s had no negative feedback from the Chamber’s business members since coming out in favor of DACA and will lobby Congress to keep it.