December 21, 2017

Dream Act: What's at Stake for Florida?

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

The Dream Act would boost Florida’s economy and tax revenues, with the Center for American Progress estimating that the state GDP would see a long-term annual increase of $1.2 billion. Terminating DACA, on the other hand, will lead to economic disruption and lost revenue.

Special thanks to staff at the N.Y.-based Fiscal Policy Institute for their work in developing this policy brief.  

On September 5, 2017, the Administration announced that it would end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program for immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. DACA grants immigrant youth temporary relief from deportation and gives them authorization to work lawfully in this country.

Enactment of the Dream Act would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently issued an analysis of the federal impacts. It showed a projected increase in tax revenues, as well as an increase in social spending. On net, the CBO estimated a cost over 10 years of roughly $25 billion, an increase in costs that is also an investment in future economic growth.

What’s at stake for Florida’s economic and fiscal outlook?


If immigrants eligible for DACA are deported, the value of their work is lost to the American economy, not to mention the vast disruption to businesses involved in mass deportations. If the Dream Act is passed, it will allow immigrant youth to work in jobs that best match their skills and give them an incentive to invest in further education and training.

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