Throwing everything against the (yet-to-be-built) wall in hopes that something will stick, a coalition of U.S. businesses claims Texas’s lawsuit against DACA will cost the state $6 billion.
Who knew that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was such a cash cow?
“In the face of DACA rescission … immigrant communities in Texas are increasingly holding back from economic activity, focusing instead on saving to protect their families from the economic trauma in the form of job loss and legal fees that comes with deportation proceedings,” the corporate consortium argued in a federal court brief filed late Saturday.
The 114 businesses – including Southwest and United Airlines, Amazon, Uber and Verizon – estimate that 126,000 of 689,000 illegal aliens protected under former President Barack Obama’s DACA program reside in Texas. From that estimate, the companies draw the following outrageous conclusions:
- The purchasing power of DACA recipients has “led to the existence of 5,800 manufacturing jobs” in Texas. This is a slippery statement, since fast-food employment has blurred with “manufacturing” in government reports.
- DACA individuals are expected to contribute about $244.7 million in Texas taxes in 2018. There is no mention of public services and subsidies received.
- The state would lose more than $6 billion in annual GDP over the next decade if DACA were scrapped. In the absence of supporting documentation, this is merely a blue-sky figure floated for headline value.
The corporatists use a thin tissue of anecdotes to fabricate their speculative assertions. In fact, DACA recipients are neither as well-educated nor financially independent as they have been presented in the media. More than a few have dangerous criminal records, which come with heavy social and economic costs.
It is unclear where or how the business coalition derived its data, but the “research” seems to rest on the illogical assumption that the economic output of DACA recipients would simply disappear and not be replaced by others in the country who would perform the jobs and pay the taxes.
We can agree with the business coalition on one point, however: Texas and other opposing states did not move soon enough against DACA.
“The states’ delay undercuts any claim they have to immediate, irreparable injury, since they have been living with the status quo for six years,” the brief contends.
“It’s a clever argument, and given the standard for an injunction, it could carry sway with the court,” says Rich Kelsey, a former law dean at George Mason University and frequent writer on immigration issues.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded, “Texas has argued for years that the federal executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally grant unlawfully present aliens lawful presence and work authorization.
“Left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own policy preferences.”
Whatever its economic implications, the DACA is bad law that tears at the foundations of border security and national sovereignty. As Paxton put it: “Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy.”