Although immigrants pay payroll taxes just like anyone else while cooking your dinner and receiving none of the thanks for it, the GOP undoubtedly considers them to be part of the 47 percent of American free-loaders who, due to the consequences of their legal status, may not be paying federal income taxes.
The ironic thing is that the GOP ardently opposes the DREAM act which, according to a new study from the Center for American Progress released today, would generate more than $10 billion in federal revenue.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act—or DREAM Act—would provide a pathway to legal status for an estimated 2.1 million undocumented youth currently living in our country. For the nation as a whole, passage of the DREAM Act will add a total of $329 billion to the economy by 2030, support the creation of 1.4 million new jobs, and generate more than $10 billion in increased revenue for the federal government.
But since DREAM Act beneficiaries are distributed unevenly across the nation, certain states will end up with an even greater economic boost. California, for example, the state with the largest number of DREAMers—more than 550,000—stands to gain almost $100 billion in economic activity, while Texas stands to gain more than $66 billion.
But even states with fewer DREAMers benefit significantly by passage of the act. Maryland, with close to 36,000 DREAMers, gains almost $5 billion in economic activity, which will support the creation of over 19,000 new jobs. No matter how many or how few DREAMers per state, all 50 states and the District of Columbia will benefit economically from passage of the DREAM Act.
Anyone operating under the guidelines of common sense logic would consider the prospect of adding $329 billion to the economy a no-brainer, but that is not what governs GOP politics.
The DREAM act would boost our moral standing in the world, add significantly to the economy, and go a long way towards silencing false GOP complaints about free-loaders and widening cracks in state budgets. Naturally, or unnaturally, they oppose this.
Only after pandering to the nativist base becomes no longer advantageous will their opposition begin to fracture. And if President Obama does walk away from this election with 70 percent of the Latino vote, as polls currently show, it could be a turning point. The Republicans will assuredly choose new subjects to divide Americans over, but this is one that could be settled sooner rather than later.