December 22, 2017

Dream Act Would Boost Florida Economy

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.

Terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, will lead to economic disruption and lost revenue

LAKE MARY, FL – Florida’s $900-billion state GDP would see a long-term annual increase of $1.2 billion under the Dream Act, according to a report published yesterday by the Florida Policy Institute with data compiled by the N.Y.-based Fiscal Policy Institute. The state would also see an increase in state and local revenues with passage of the act. The study, Dream Act: What’s at Stake for Florida? draws on analyses from the Center for American Progress and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The Dream Act would provide undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children with a pathway to citizenship, allowing them to contribute more fully to the state economy.

“Dreamers have attended schools in America and worked and lived alongside us,” said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute. “These are our friends and neighbors. It’s time to afford them the chance to become U.S. citizens, which will in turn will foster economic growth.”

The increase in state GDP would be substantially higher, notes the report, if the Dream Act encourages more people to invest in their education. If half of the individuals eligible to obtain lawful permanent residence did so by getting a 2- or 4-year degree, their earnings would increase, and their contribution would increase Florida’s state GDP by $4.1 billion annually.

In September 2017, the Administration revoked Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which grants immigrant youth temporary relief from deportation and gives them authorization to work lawfully in this country. There are 72,000 young immigrants living in Florida who were potentially eligible for DACA. They contribute a total of $78 million to local and state taxes, annually.

“I urge Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act. This is an important investment in Florida families and in our economy,” added Pennisi.

The Florida Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting widespread prosperity through timely, thoughtful and objective analysis of state policy issues affecting economic opportunity.

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