As Dr. Goel continues, passing the DREAM Act—bipartisan legislation that would legalize an estimated two million undocumented immigrant youth—would have broad public health implications. As immigrant youth are finally allowed to live up to their own potential, many will be able to pursue vocational training and higher educational opportunities. We know this to be true because it’s been happening. And as older generations leave the workforce, it’s been younger Americans, like DACA recipients, who have stepped in to continue important and vital work:
The health impact of not passing the DREAM Act is not just limited to immigrant communities, though. It also has significant implications for the general population and, in particular, our elderly. Surveys suggest that nearly one-fifth of DREAMerswork in health care and education, filling critically needed direct care roles such as home health aides as well as even highly trained roles asdoctorsand nurses. This is critically important because there are already significant health workforce shortages, particularly in home care, which cannot meet current demand. The population of seniors, currently 48 million, is projected tonearly double by 2050. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics already projectsan additional 1.1 million direct care workerswill be needed by 2024. Deportations of DREAMers will put at least tens of thousands of these jobs at further risk.
Undocumented immigrants are more than their tax contributions, but during an administration that continues to falsely malign immigrant families as takers, it must be pointed out that undocumented workers contribute $12 billion annually in local and state taxes, and research from the Center for American Progress has found that passing the DREAM Act could spur economic gains as high as $1 trillion over a decade. The Dream Act isn’t just smart policy, it’s the moral thing to do. “Not taking action on DREAMers,” Dr. Goel writes, “portends harmful psychological consequences on immigrant communities—those that are already marginalized and face a high disease burden.”
Right now, the fight to pass the DREAM Act is entering the most critical weeks yet. “Asactions across the country this weekdemonstrated,” immigrant rights group America’s Voice notes, “there is incredible energy for protecting Dreamers all across America, there isgrowing bipartisan support in Congress, andpoll after pollreminds us that the American people, including Republicans, strongly back efforts to keep Dreamers here in America.” Immigrant youth need our help now more than ever. Make one call today—it could make all the difference for them.
Ã¢ÂÂ #DreamActNow (@TUSK81) December 8, 2017