If passed, the Dream Act would provide a way for 800,000 Dreamers to remain in the U.S. while also offering economic benefits to the state of Illinois. The Trump Administration announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Sept. 5, 2017. Under DACA, 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. as children were allowed to work and to remain in the U.S. as long as they graduated from high school, served in the military, attended college and did not have criminal convictions. In addition to solving a moral issue, the Dream Act would also offer substantial economic benefits to states and individual industries.
How the Dream Act Would Have an Economic Impact
According to the Center for American Progress, passing the Dream Act would result in an increase in the Gross Domestic Product of $22.7 billion annually. Over 10 years, the GDP increase would be $281 billion. Since the Dream Act would require recipients to serve in the military, work or to attend college, it could also result in an even higher cumulative increase in the GDP. The think tank reports that if 50 percent of the recipients chose the educational option in order to pursue lawful permanent residence, the GDP could be boosted by $728.4 billion over 10 years. Passing the Dream Act would also result in an increase in the wages of all Americans between $82 and $273 each year.
Benefits to Specific Industries
If the Dream Act was passed, individual industries would also greatly benefit. The industries that would stand to benefit the most include the retail trade, health services, educational services, construction and manufacturing industries.
Benefits to Illinois
In Illinois, there are an estimated 96,000 eligible young people who would qualify under the Dream Act. Over the long run, the passage of the act would result in an annual GDP increase in Illinois of more than $1.2 billion. With the education bump figured in, the annual GDP would be increased in Illinois by more than $4 billion annually.
Despite these potential economic benefits, it is unclear whether the bipartisan bill will be passed. The Trump Administration recently signaled its opposition to a bipartisan agreement. Dreamers may want to explore alternative ways that they might use to remain in the U.S.