September 20, 2010
Washington, D.C. - As the bipartisan call for passing the DREAM Act gets louder - from military, education, faith, and Republican leaders alike - some may overlook the economic benefits of granting legal status to eligible undocumented youth who want to attend college or join the military. There are currently 2.1 million undocumented youths living in the U.S. who, without the DREAM Act, are unlikely to go to college and cannot work legally in the U.S. The DREAM Act, however, would provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential as future doctors, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs and make greater contributions to the U.S. economy and society.
The DREAM Act would give beneficiaries the opportunity to increase their standard of living - and their tax contributions: If legalized, DREAM Act beneficiaries would have access to greater educational opportunities and better jobs, which in turn means more taxable income. According to a study from Arizona State University, an individual with a bachelor's degree earns approximately $750,000 more over the course of his/her lifetime than an individual with only a high-school diploma.
The DREAM Act would save taxpayers money: A RAND study from 1999 shows that raising the college graduation rate of Hispanics to that of non-Hispanic whites would increase spending on public education by 10 percent nationwide, but the costs would be more than offset by savings in public health and benefits, as well as by increased tax revenues resulting from higher incomes.
The DREAM Act keeps talented students in the United States: Letting the talent of DREAM Act students go to waste "imposes economic and emotional costs on undocumented students and on U.S. society as a whole." The DREAM Act would stop brain drain by allowing our most talented students to remain in the country.
While some in Congress continue to play politics with the DREAM Act, America and its taxpayers continue to lose. Without the DREAM Act, the United States is missing out on talented workers and entrepreneurs, and is losing vital tax revenues and other economic contributions.
To read IPC's Fact Check, see:
The DREAM Act: Creating Economic Opportunities
(IPC Fact Check, September 16, 2010)
For more information on the DREAM Act see:
The DREAM Act in Arizona: An Economic Perspective
(Arizona State University, September 17, 2010)
Essential to the Fight: Immigrants in the Military
(IPC Special Report, November, 2009)
IPC DREAM Act Resource Page