What the Loss of DACA Will Mean For Virginia

Sep 5, 2017

Carlos Esteban, 31, of Woodbridge, Virginia, a nursing student and recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, rallies with others in support of DACA outside of the White House Tuesday.
Credit AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will have major consequences to Virginia’s economy. 

Young people with DACA status in Virginia contribute more than $700 million to Virginia's economy annually according to the Commonwealth Institute. Chad Stewart is a research assistant there, and he says the loss of DACA status would be a personal tragedy for thousands of young Virginians. But, he says, it would also be a major hit to Virginia’s economy.

“DACA residents in Virginia pay a higher effective tax rate in state and local taxes than the top one percent of households in the state, so these are major contributors to the economy.”

And a broad cross-section of immigrants will be hit by Trump’s decision. Sookyung Oh at Together We Build America’s Future says it’s far more wide-ranging than most people expect.

“When folks think about immigration they often think of Latinos. What they don’t think of or maybe they’re too aware of is how even in the Asian-American community, we have people who are undocumented, people who we love and care about.”

Researchers at the Commonwealth Institute estimate that about 17 immigrants will lose their job every day as permits expire. Those workers pay about $35 million in state and local taxes every year, money that will evaporate when they return to the shadows.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.