New Study Cites DREAM Act Economic Benefits

college studentsThe North American Integration and Development Center at UCLA has released a new report highlighting the economic benefits of enacting the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The report, entitled “No DREAMers Left Behind: The Economic Potential of DREAM Act Beneficiaries” states:

Passage of the DREAM Act is not only a question of individual fulfillment; it is a practical step toward realizing a return on the U.S. public education system’s investment in immigrant youths. DREAMers make up a highly-educated and potentially high-income earning group that can contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy across diverse industries. The DREAM Act offers a moral solution to the trap of being a young, motivated, undocumented immigrant in the U.S. It is also an economically sensible piece of legislation that advances the interests of U.S. society as a whole.

More specifically, the report concludes, “In the No DREAMers Left Behind scenario, 2.1 million undocumented immigrants would become legalized and generate approximately $3.6 trillion” over a 40-year period. Another positive effect of the DREAM Act would be that “[a] higher supply of skilled students would also advance the U.S. global competitive position in science, technology, medicine, education and many other endeavors.”

These findings are especially significant given the nation’s falling level of educational attainment. As Wonk Room economics blogger Pat Garofalo notes, “By 2025, according to estimates by the Lumina Foundation, our nation will be short 16 million college-educated workers. This will have real consequences for both the economy as a whole and for individual workers.”

In the past, the College Board has indirectly supported the report’s conclusions, stating, “In strictly economic terms, the contributions that DREAM Act students would make over their lifetimes would dwarf the small additional investment in their education beyond high school, and the intangible benefits of legalizing and educating these students would be significant.”

The reasoning behind the report’s findings is pretty straightforward. The DREAM Act provides young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own with the opportunity to get on a path to legalization by attaining a college education or serving in the military. As a result, those who qualify for the DREAM Act will also have access to better economic opportunities than they would if they were working without a visa in the shadows of the economy.

Even former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) agrees with that logic, saying, “the economy will be better when that [undocumented] kid is able to fully realize his potential and break the pattern of his parent’s illegal activity.” Polls show that 70 percent of Americans support the DREAM Act.

andrea nill

Andrea Christina Nill

Yesterday, after a meeting between the President and Latino congressional leaders, the White House issued a press release stating, “The President and the CHC [Congressional Hispanic Caucus] leaders believe that, before adjourning, Congress should approve the DREAM Act.” The question is whether Rupublicans will join or obstruct the effort to allow undocumented students to improve their lives and the U.S. economy.

Andrea Christina Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room


  1. Annette says

    Now that we’ve paid public money to educate illegal aliens, you want to give them amnesty and citizenship so we can “recoup” on what they’ve forced us to pay so far?

    You think if they’re employed as adults, somehow that means their work will pay back the American taxpayers who footed the bill for their education? The only people who will benefit from their work are the very illegal aliens who are given amnesty and the companies that hire them over American citizens.

    What about the children of tho American taxpayers who footed the bill for these illegal alien kids? Wouldn’t it be better if we recouped on THEIR free education instead of giving even more advantages to those who broke the law? Why let millions of DREAM aliens take those jobs from our American youth? The study says the economy will be better, but the American kids who can’t get jobs won’t be better off, will they?

    Oh, by the way, once the teens are made American citizens, they can receive FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION to add to the cost they’ve already stuck the American public with. Does that help the economy, or does it just detract from what our own children could have gotten with financial aid?

    Liberals should stop trying to give amnesty to illegal aliens. All amnesty does is encourage more and more foreigners to break the law and sneak into our country. We’ve already given amnesty three times in the late 1900s, and the result is a flood of new aliens coming here to steal our money.

    Liberals are responsible for the takeover of the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterms because they push our government to prioritize people like illegal aliens over hard working, tax paying Americans.

    There’s nothing wrong with being sympathetic to people that need help, including these alien children or other illegal aliens who try to live here. But when you prioritize them over the people who are paying the bills for their illegal actions, and when push our government for amnesty knowing those kids will complete for jobs with the kids of the Americans who were forced to pay the bills, you end up losing elections like we just did in 2010.

    • Ana says

      To begin with i do not believ they are making you pay anything.. Forcing you.. really becuase.. we have not recieved a dime of it. The employers dont hire them OVER american citizens. They hire whom they believe will best attribute to them and the job. They are not taking jobs from anyone, we all have an equal oppurtunity to get hired. why are you complaining.. you get free education, you can get just as much help as they can, all they ask is for an oppurtunity. they are kids who want to better themselves. or would you prefer them out on the streets on the road to a destructive path? Stealing your money!!? please… stop being so selfish and put yourself in thier shoes.. wouldnt you want the opputunity.. They are gonna serve your countr.. thier country now too becuase this is where they were raised. is that bad!!!? WE PAY BILLS TO LADY!!
      im sorry thats all i have to say, i was polite.. but you will never know what is is like to live one day in thier shoes, and know what the majority of them had to go through just to get where they are today. they arenot harming anyone they are just trying to better the economy for the good of our nation. watch this movie ” la misma luna”.. you will get a hint of just what they went through, some go through worse, and some dont make.. they just want the american dream..


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *