by Spencer P Morrison, NEE
Why Millennials Should Oppose a DACA Amnesty
Although millennials are the first to virtuously signal their support for granting amnesty to DACA recipients, they are also the demographic cohort most hurt by DACA.
This is an bizarre paradox—why would anyone favor a policy that harms them? Misinformation? Perhaps. Or maybe millennials think—feel, rather—that they have more to gain (socially) from supporting DACA than they do to lose (economically). This is probably closer to the truth. Some doubtlessly do, but as a group millennials will be the losers in any DACA amnesty deal.
DACA is the acronym for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsexecutive order, which granted temporary legal status to any illegal immigrant to arrived in America before the age of 16. Roughly 800,000 people enrolled in the program, although the total number of potential DACA recipients is nearly 2 million. This is how many people would likely receive amnesty in an amnesty deal.
A few notes on DACA recipients: the average age of DACA recipients is 25, although they range in age from 16 to 35. Fully 20 percent of DACA recipients are older than 30. None of them are children, and very few are teenagers—in contrast to what the media implies. Furthermore, up to 50 percent of DACA recipients are fraudulent, according to Matt O’Brien, a former manager for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency’s investigative unit under President Obama.
That’s DACA in short. Now to answer the main question: how does DACA hurt millennials?
Dreamers Compete with Millennials for College Admissions & Scholarships
The influx of young people into America via illegal immigration, and their absorption into the legal framework via DACA has increased the supply of students, and therefore the demand for post-secondary education. This necessarily decreases educational opportunities for American students, as adding more competitors decreases everyone’s odds. Likewise, it is a (small) reason why educational costs have increased so dramatically in recent decades.
But perhaps the bigger issue is that many American colleges have adopted patently racist admissions programs that favor ethnic minorities over white students via affirmative action programs. Of course, not all minorities benefit from these programs—East Asian students are harmed by them even more than are white Americans. But, given that the vast majority of dreamers are from Latin America, they generally benefit from affirmative action programs, often at the expense of Americans.
Consider that the California Dream Act explicitly grants dreamers state funding to attend college. In total, California spends an additional $67 million in post-secondary educational grants for illegal aliens. Contrast this with the many thousands of American students who don’t receive state funding.
How is California paying for this? A good chunk of the money comes from the now phased-out the Middle Class Scholarship Program—essentially the state diverted money away from American students to illegals.
This should serve as a sharp reminder to millennials that tax dollars always come from somewhere—in this case they went from American students to illegal immigrants. And of course, this isn’t just happening in California: some 19 other states have similar tuition programs.
Dreamers vs Millennials in the Workplace
Millennials are the first generation in American history to be economically worse-off than their parents. Consider that 1 in 4 millennials are unemployed, and 1 in 3 still live at home. There are two reasons for this: (i) offshoring and automation has changed America’s economy so as to prioritize capital over labor, which necessarily reduces employment opportunities, especially for entry-level workers; (ii) immigration has crowded America’s cities, increasing housing costs and decreasing wages.
Essentially, millennials are chocked out of the labor and housing markets because of asinine, anti-American government policies. DACA makes a bad problem worse by adding yet more competition to America’s labor markets.
A study from the Center for Immigration Studies examined the economic impact of illegal immigration on American wages between 1990 and 2010, and found that the negative distortion was $1,396 on average—that is, American workers made nearly $1,400 less than they would have were it not for illegal immigration. This is consistent with another study conducted by the National Academies of Science, which found that immigration lowers wages for domestic workers. Millennials often bear the brunt of this distortion, as they are more likely to work for wages, and are the age cohort directly competing with DACA recipients.
It must also be noted that illegal immigrants are a net burden on taxpayers, consuming far more in government subsidies than they contribute in taxes. This translates directly into higher taxes for American citizens, which includes millennials. Consider that California—home to 10-12 million immigrants— is America’s poorest state. Its poverty rate is double the national average, its income inequality is higher than Mexico’s, and it “home” to America’s largest homeless population. And yet, in a perverse twist, California is also America’s second most heavily taxed state.
In the end, millennials will have to make a choice: will they prioritize their own well-being, or will they surrender the fruits of their inheritance to foreign citizens?
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