President Barack Obama’s stalled executive action on immigration would add more than 20,000 jobs a year and a total of $164 billion to the U.S. economy over a decade, according to an analysis released this week. The program, which aims to give work permits and temporary deportation waivers to certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizens, was scheduled to launch this week but is still awaiting its fate from a legal challenge in federal court.
The Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, issued a report this week on the economic potential of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), the Obama administration program that would benefit up to 3.7 million undocumented immigrants. According to CAP's analysis, implementing DAPA would create 15,290 jobs a year and add a cumulative $61 billion to gross domestic product over five years. Over 10 years, it would add 20,538 jobs annually and $164 billion to GDP. The analysis also notes that the program would increase cumulative incomes for all Americans by $33 billion over the next five years and $88 billion over the next 10 years.
The report is based on estimates that there are 2.7 million undocumented workers that could benefit from DAPA and get wider access to jobs through work permits. CAP’s analysis follows other studies that project a positive economic impact from the deferred-action programs. The White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated that DAPA, along with the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, would add between $90 billion and $210 billion to GDP over the next decade.
DAPA follows the model of the DACA program, launched in 2012, which gave work authorization to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The Obama administration announced DAPA and an expansion of DACA in November as the president criticized Congress’ inability to push through comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Both programs were supposed to roll out this year: The expanded DACA’s original launch date was in February, while DAPA was scheduled for May 19.
That timeline was derailed after Andrew Hanen, a Texas-based federal judge, blocked the programs after a 26-state coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the executive action. The states supporting the lawsuit have argued that DAPA would add more economic strain to state and local governments. The Obama administration filed an appeal in April, and an appeals court ruling is expected to come down any day.
But that same appeals court issued a ruling on a separate case last month that could hint at DAPA’s fate. The court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the state of Mississippi and agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency over the 2012 DACA program, saying the plaintiffs had no standing to challenge the program in court.