Sunday, September 4, 2011

Economic Benefits of the Dream Act?

Introduced in 2001, the debate still rages on whether the DREAM Act should become law. There are various schools of thought on the matter: while some believe the Act's passage would be a drain on the average American taxpayer, others are of the view that the DREAM Act has enormous economic benefits. Could the passage of this Act by Congress and its subsequent signing into law by the President be a step in reviving the economy after the recession? Well, here is a study by the UCLA's North American Integration and Development Center outlining the economic potential of dream act beneficiaries. According to this study, approximately $1.4 trillion to $3.6 trillion could be generated for the economy in taxable income by potential Dream Act beneficiaries over a 40-year period. Click here to read the findings of the study.  

1 comment:

alexrued said...

This study is interesting and (as far as I can tell--I've never taken an econ course so economics is pretty much over my head) it does a good job of predicting what would happen as a result of the DREAM act--it explains what percentage of undocumented people in the US would apply and qualify, as well as what these people would probably go on to accomplish via higher education or military participation. However, the information it provided really didn't lead me to agree with the final conclusion that "The DREAM an economically sensible piece of legislation that advances the interests of U.S. society as a whole." Stating that this piece of legislation “advances the interests of US society as a whole” is a pretty bold statement that I don't think the article backed up. I’m not even sure if it fully proved the DREAM act to be “economically sensible.” Considering the number of illegal immigrants who are currently productive contributors to American society and the economy, the DREAM act might be both a practical and moral step, but it is not any sort of a solution. In order for the DREAM act to be a responsible and acceptable piece of legislation, a whole series of reforms, including securing borders and enforcing immigration laws, must follow on its heels. Without a subsequent overhaul of the immigration system, the DREAM act would simply incentivize people to come into America illegally, thus rendering the system of legal immigration (rule of law) ineffectual. The legal process to becoming a US citizen needs to be stressed as the best process (and, in the future, the only process) by which to enter the United States. For the United States to simply pass legislation granting amnesty to select groups and not afterwards address immigration (securing the borders and enforcing/stressing legal immigration) would be grossly irresponsible in terms of national security and the integrity of our legal system.

I’d love to hear more thoughts on why the DREAM act is economically sensible.