DACA's Effect in Iowa

Oct 10, 2017

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy created with an executive order of President Barack Obama in 2012.  It allows children of illegal immigrants to receive a two-year deferred action from deportation, and it grants them work permits. This past September, the policy was rescinded by the Trump administration, citing the executive order to be unconstitutional.  Trump is urging Congress to create policies regarding these "DREAMers," as the DACA recipients are commonly referred to.  DACA and its subsequent rescindment has had a significant impact on Iowa's economy. Iowa State University Associate Scientist in the Department of Economics David Swenson mentions that the state's economy would be negatively affected if its DACA recipients were unable to work in the country anymore.

"If those people who are currently participating in the state's economy, are going to the state's public schools, are made to leave, then by definition, the economy has to contract," Swenson says.  He cites numbers generated by the Center for American Progress saying, "Those recipients in Iowa contribute about $188 million worth of GDP, now GDP is the sum of their labor, plus the sum of the profits they generate for their employers...so that's a very big chunk of change with regard to the economy."

On this River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Swenson, as well as DACA recipients Nilvia Brownson and Kenia (who requested her last name be omitted), District 13 Iowa State Senator Julian Garrett, and Chair of the Immigration Department at Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines Lori Chesser.