Ending DACA during a national emergency and global health crisis would be catastrophic. Experts estimate more than 125,000 DACA recipients are working in essential industries, including more than 40,000 in healthcare; DACA recipients have been playing a critical frontline role in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Lawyers representing DACA-recipients sent a letter to the Supreme Court in March, urging the Court to weigh the high costs of ending work authorization during a national emergency.
Ending DACA would force thousands of teachers out of jobs as schools struggle to adapt to new challenges and methods of teaching, and would also jeopardize hundreds of entrepreneurs, many of whom have created jobs for native-born Americans and are already struggling to keep their businesses open. Main street businesses like retail shops and restaurants would also be particularly hit hard during these already difficult times, as these are the industries where the most DACA recipients are employed.
When DACA first came before the Supreme Court, 24 states and the District of Columbia filed briefs attesting to the economic consequences of ending the policy. One brief explained, “With work authorization, many DACA recipients have obtained new or higher paying jobs, allowing them to be productive members of our communities. … Businesses throughout the States will face a loss of demand for goods and services from the diminished purchasing power of the Dreamers and their families, while the state and local governments will see reduced tax revenues.”
DACA recipients have made long-term decisions, such as enrolling in school, purchasing homes, and investing in businesses, that will need to be abandoned if Dreamers cannot work and live their days with certainty. Further exposing Dreamers to the threat of deportation will undermine trust built between law enforcement and immigrant communities, weakening public safety. And it will impose heavy costs on these communities, as an amicus brief filed by 109 cities, counties, and municipalities across the country, explained:
“The DACA program has made our communities more economically robust and discernibly safer. Rescission will not only deal amici the staggering loss of hundreds of thousands of individual economic contributors and cause fear that undermines public health and safety, but it will also force [cities, counties, municipalities, and local government advocacy organizations] to operate and fund the social safety net that will be needed to catch recipients’ families when jobs are lost, health insurance plans are discontinued, college educations are forfeited, homes fall into foreclosure, and families are forced apart by low-priority removals.”