Over 470,000 New Yorkers May Benefit from DREAM Act

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Posted on 01/18/18
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The Mayor’s Office Thursday (Jan, 18) released a new analysis on the tremendous benefit the DREAM Act (S. 1615) could have for New Yorkers, showing that 150,000 residents would immediately benefit, or be eligible to directly benefit, from the DREAM Act. In total, 470,000 residents could benefit from the legislation when accounting for city residents who could indirectly benefit – the 320,000 family members and others who live with these 150,000 Dreamers. Studies have shown that gaining legal status allows immigrants to earn higher wages, contributing to the greater economic stabilization of NYC households. The City has found that 88,000 U.S. citizen children live with a Dreamer, showing how much as it stake for mixed-status families in NYC. Despite a recent court decision forcing the federal government to begin accepting DACA renewal applications for some, the need to pass a legislative solution is as urgent as ever.


“It’s past time Congress recognize what New York City always has: Dreamers are Americans,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “470,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the DREAM Act. Even more of us will keep fighting together until Washington upholds its commitment to Dreamers.”


“We need Congress to act or more Dreamers will suffer,” said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Dreamers add billions to our city’s GDP every year, and the DREAM Act would economically empower and strengthen immigrant families. Tens of thousands of children go to sleep at night worried about their Dreamer family members, and we have legislation that would ease that burden. All Congress has to do is pass it.”


“The Dreamers who live here are New Yorkers: our family members, friends, neighbors and U.S. residents since their childhood,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “It’s past time that Congress act to ensure Dreamers enjoy the opportunity to live free from fear, achieve their full potential, and continue to contribute to our city and to our country.”


The fact sheet is available here.


In September 2017, the Trump Administration announced that they would terminate DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Since, Dreamers and their allies have demanded that Congress pass a legislative solution that would allow Dreamers – undocumented youth who came to the United States as children – to retain their work authorization, protection from deportation, and even to chart out a pathway to citizenship. The latest bipartisan DREAM Act (S. 1615) would protect young immigrants, including DACA recipients, from deportation and codify in law that Dreamers are Americans. The bill would allow Dreamers to apply for legal status, work authorization, and eventually a path to citizenship.


The City’s latest analysis shows that 470,000 New Yorkers could directly or indirectly benefit from the DREAM Act. 150,000 Dreamers would be eligible for legal status and work authorization, leading to decreased anxiety about deportation and higher wages, improving the lives of the 320,000 family members and others they live with. One recent survey of DACA recipients, 30,000 of whom live in the five boroughs, found that their pre-DACA average annual earnings of $20,068 rose to $36,232 as of about five years after DACA began.  DACA recipients strengthen New York City’s economy and enrich local communities every day, meaning all New Yorkers have a stake in its success. Specifically, under the bill:

470,000 New Yorkers could directly or indirectly benefit under the DREAM Act.

  • 150,000 Dreamers in New York City would be eligible for relief under the bill.
  • 320,000 New Yorkers who live with these 150,000 Dreamers could indirectly benefit as well from greater economic stabilization and decreased the anxiety of deportation for Dreamers.

o    This is particularly true for the 88,000 U.S. citizen children who live with a Dreamer in NYC.


Over 150,000 New Yorkers would be immediately or potentially eligible for, at minimum, protection from deportation under the DREAM Act.

  • 96,000 New Yorkers would be immediately eligible for legal status, including NYC’s 30,000 DACA recipients.

o    The additional 66,000 New Yorkers are either eligible for relief under the DREAM Act but were ineligible for DACA due to the program’s maximum-age limit, or were previously eligible for DACA and did not apply.

  • An additional 16,000 children in elementary and middle school would be immediately eligible for protection from deportation.

o    These children were ineligible for DACA due to the program’s minimum-age limit.

  • About 40,000 more New Yorkers would be eligible for legal status once they meet the bill’s educational requirement.


Dreamers are deeply embedded throughout the five boroughs, with:

  • 29,000 in the Bronx;
  • 46,000 in Brooklyn;
  • 18,000 in Manhattan;
  • 55,000 in Queens; and
  • 4,000 in Staten Island.


NYC’s Dreamers have long called this city home:

  • The typical Dreamer living in our city entered the U.S. at age 11 and has lived in the country for 13 years, meaning that her formative years were spent calling the U.S. and NYC home.
  • 320,000 New Yorkers live with a Dreamer, and could also indirectly benefit from the DREAM Act’s passage.

o    148,000 of these New Yorkers who live with a Dreamer are U.S. citizens, including 88,000 U.S. citizen children.


Dreamers play a strong role in New York City’s economy:

  • In 2017, Dreamers contributed $4.7 billion in City GDP for New York City, and Dreamers earn $2 billion every year.
  • Dreamers participate in our city’s labor force at a higher rate than the general population.
  • Approximately 37 percent of Dreamers work in construction or the hotel and food services industries, where they make up nearly 5 percent of the total workforce in both industries.

This week, Acting Commissioner Bitta Mostofi of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Members of Congress to advocate for Dreamers on behalf of the de Blasio Administration. During this visit, Acting Commissioner Mostofi also represented Cities for Action, a coalition of over 175 mayors and county executives fighting for pro-immigrant and pro-refugee policies.


The City strongly supports Dreamers and has fought for many years to lower barriers to obtaining DACA for eligible NYC residents. Last Saturday, due to a federal court decision, the federal government announced that, for now, certain DACA recipients will be allowed to apply to renew their DACA. This decision does not change the urgent need for Congress to act now to protect Dreamers.


The City is working with legal service providers across the five boroughs to provide resources and information to eligible DACA recipients. For the latest updates on DACA, New Yorkers can go to nyc.gov/DACA. Any New Yorker in need of immigration legal help, including those wondering whether to apply for DACA renewal, can call 311 and say “ActionNYC” to connect with safe and confidential legal services, in their neighborhood and in their language.

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