By Vanessa Barios, RPA & Walter Barrientos, Make the Road New York
Elaine Duke, the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, has announced that the Trump administration will let the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program wind down while placing the responsibility to save the program on the Congress. DACA is an immigration policy that enables certain protections from deportation and work permit eligibility for undocumented immigrants brought to America as children prior to June 2007. As of this year, nearly 800,000 young immigrants have been approved for protections under DACA which was founded under the Obama administration in 2012.
Reversing this immigration policy would leave over 153,000 young immigrants in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut previously protected under DACA, millions of other undocumented immigrants, and others who have other forms of status but are not yet citizens, vulnerable to deportation.
One understated but major problem that will result from widespread deportation is that without the nearly 3.5 million undocumented immigrant homeowners in the United States, the housing and real estate economy will be severely affected. Millions of homes will be left without vital heads of households, primary income earners, and countless minors who are American citizens that will be left without their parents. A tremendous strain will be placed on state and local expenses for social services if immigrant families are destabilized by haphazard deportation practices.
We must recognize that mass deportation will also negatively affect the businesses that immigrants work for, the municipalities that govern them, and the communities they live in. Municipalities will be affected because all homeowners pay property tax, which is the source of ⅓ of the region’s state and local tax revenues. In addition to property tax, immigrants contribute $42 billion in taxes in New York State alone.
Studies suggest that deportation can cause higher rates of foreclosure because large shares of homeowners who are documented are more likely to house undocumented immigrants. These tenants provide a considerable portion of the household’s income. In the town of Brentwood on Long Island, the loss of the immigrant community would dismantle entire communities already destabilized by the mortgage crisis the late 2000s.
These issues not only affect undocumented and mixed status families. Regardless of documentation status, more immigrants are getting arrested. In New Jersey, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) recent figures show that arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions more than doubled.
The results of these sweeping crackdowns, the deportation of undocumented immigrants, and the dismantling of DACA will have damaging effects on our economy, communities, and cities that will be felt by both immigrants and citizens alike.
Photo: Violetta Lough/Flickr