With the U. S. House of Representatives set to take a vote on immigration issues as early as next week, the Kentucky Chamber sent a letter to Kentucky’s federal delegation urging support for bipartisan legislation that provides permanent relief for “Dreamers” affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Approximately 690,000 DACA recipients will see their work authorization revoked if Congress fails to provide relief to Dreamers. In addition, approximately 310,540 current Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients will lose their work authorization as a result of recent administration decisions. Many of these individuals have legally lived and worked in the U.S. for two decades.
In Kentucky alone, the positive economic impact of the DACA-eligible recipients can be easily seen:
- There are as many as 5,459 DACA-eligible recipients in the state.
- Despite the rhetoric claiming undocumented youths are a drain on the Kentucky economy, 90.5 percent of the DACA-eligible population who are at least 16 years old are employed.
- Kentucky’s DACA-eligible population earns almost $70.4 million in total income annually.
- Kentucky’s DACA-eligible population contributes more than $10 million in total taxes annually, $6.1 million of which goes to state and local tax revenue.
At large, immigrants have substantial impact on the local economy:
- In Kentucky, nearly 152,000 residents are immigrants.
- Over 10,600 immigrants are entrepreneurs, employing more than 35,000 at the immigrant-owned firms in the state.
- In 2016, Kentucky immigrants held $2.7 billion in spending power.
- Immigrants in Kentucky pay $969 million in taxes every year.
One immigration proposal being considered in the House of Representatives would drastically reduce overall immigration levels in the future by between 260,000 and 420,000 immigrants a year. The Chamber feels these cuts would be devastating to our economy and our local communities and urges opposition to this issue in the letter.