Date: June 12, 2024


New Report Details Staggering $1 Trillion Cost of Ending the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program


Report from Coalition for the American Dream Comes
Ahead of the 12th Anniversary of DACA


Washington, D.C. – A new report released today by the Coalition for the American Dream, “Forfeiting the Trillion-Dollar Dream,” provides details of the staggering economic and societal costs of ending the DACA program. While DACA remains in place for current beneficiaries of the program as its 12th anniversary approaches this Saturday, June 15, the program remains under dire threat in the face of congressional inaction and legal uncertainty in front of the courts.

“Ending DACA is likely to reduce U.S. total income by over $230 billion, and up to 3 times this amount if all those eligible for DACA and their spouses exit the U.S. labor market permanently,” said Francesc Ortega, report researcher and Professor of Economics at City University of New York. “Since this population is fairly educated and young, DACA recipients could contribute substantially to the U.S. economy for decades. Losing them will exacerbate existing worker shortages in many industries.”

“Today’s report highlights the outsized economic benefits the more than half a million DACA recipients contribute each and every day, and would do so in the decades ahead if they could continue being part of the U.S. labor force,” said Phillip Connor, Senior Demographer at and lead researcher on the report. “Looking at that long-term view, the report shows how economically reckless it would be for the DACA policy to end, amounting to a potential loss of nearly a trillion dollars to the communities and country DACA recipients call home.”

Ending DACA for the more than 500,000 current recipients who came to the U.S. as children would be disastrous for them and their families and communities. Additionally, ending the program would inflict terrible damage on the U.S. economy, particularly at the local level. Overall, the report finds that the cost of ending DACA – when accounting for wasted investments and squandered economic contributions in the last decade, as well as future economic losses and costs – approaches $1 trillion over DACA recipient lifetimes, and would directly impact around one million U.S. citizens across the country, with indirect impacts reverberating through communities across the U.S.

The report’s topline findings on the cost of ending DACA fall into several categories:

  • Profound disruptions for families:
    • Nearly 1 million U.S. citizen family members, including 90,000 spouses and 300,000 children of DACA recipients, could face potential separation from a loved one with DACA.
    • An estimated 120,000 U.S. citizen children could be pushed into poverty.
    • Some 118,000 children could have narrower access to healthcare with the loss of private
      health insurance of a DACA recipient parent.
  • U.S. workforce and businesses impacted:
    • About 440,000 DACA recipient workers could be lost from the U.S. workforce, including 37,000 healthcare personnel, 17,000 STEM professionals, and 17,000 educators.
    • As many as 168,000 U.S. jobs in DACA-owned businesses could be lost.
  • Squandered economic investments in the DACA population:
    • Some $8 billion in business training and recruitment costs for current DACA employees could be lost.
    • At least $63 billion in past investment for K–12 education could be for naught.
  • Long-term future economic losses and costs:
    • Up to $648 billion in future economic losses are predicted.
    • State and local governments could lose as much as $150 billion in future revenue.
    • A minimum of $30 billion in lost business income from DACA-owned businesses could disappear.
    • 120,000 U.S. citizen children could be pushed into poverty, leading to as much as $10 billion in additional federal government costs over the next three decades.
    • More than $8 billion in business retraining and recruitment costs to replace DACA employees could be required.

Earlier this year, the Coalition for the American Dream, which comprises more than 100 of the
nation’s top businesses and trade associations representing every major sector of the economy and
millions of U.S. workers, affirmed its support for DACA in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. As the legal debate over DACA continues, more than 50 leading U.S. companies, organizations, and trade associations have filed amicus briefs in support of the program.

More than 800,000 DACA recipients across the country gained access to work authorization and
deportation protections provided through the policy over the last 12 years, allowing them
to contribute their skills and talents to the American workforce and strengthen our economy.

For additional information, please visit:

# # #