Report: DACA Repeal Could Cost Georgia Millions

DACA students rally for in-state tuition rates last year. Georgia stands to lose millions if President Donald Trump revokes the program.
Credit Elly Yu / WABE
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According to a new report from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Georgia could lose millions of dollars if President Donald Trump follows through with promises to crack down on illegal immigration.

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to end an Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program provides temporary deportation relief for some immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. It also lets recipients get work permits. So, many pay taxes.

GBPI research director Wesley Tharpe said if Trump revokes DACA and deports people enrolled in and eligible for the program, Georgia will lose $66 million a year in tax revenue.

“It’s certainly not hundreds of millions of dollars, but really, every dollar of public revenue in Georgia is critical to make sure we’re meeting our needs,” Tharpe said.

However, if the president rescinds DACA, but doesn’t deport those eligible for or enrolled in the program, Georgia could still lose out. Tharpe estimates that loss would be about $28 million a year.

“That’s because immigrants without lawful status are going to be less likely to work, even though many of them will still be working, obviously,” he said. “Their wages are going to go down, and they would pay a lower effective tax rate.”

Trump has been silent on DACA since taking office.

Tharpe said Georgia could actually gain revenue if Congress could agree on a bipartisan bill that would include a path to citizenship for those living in the U.S. illegally. He estimates that could mean an additional $21 million a year for the state.

“The research is clear that by putting immigrants on a path to citizenship, you provide the benefits associated with full legal status,” he said. “So, people are able to gain more skills to transition, over time, into better jobs.”

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