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A Reality Check On DACA's Minnesota Impact

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota state officials estimate there are thousands of young people in Minnesota who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

Many are now in school or working, and their economic impact is significant.

They are enrolled in DACA, which is shorthand for the program "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."

DACA supporters decried the presidential order ending it Tuesday at the Minnesota Capitol.

"We want people to stop blaming our parents and to acknowledge that we're families," said Juventino Meza, justice research project director at the immigration rights organization Navigate MN. "If you really care about the integrity of a family, you should be caring about our families."

Pro-DACA Protest At White House
A pro-DACA protest in front of the White House (credit: CBS)

Minnesota has 6,300 previously-undocumented young people brought to the United States by their parents.

  • Most (76 percent) have been here for five years or more.
  • Most (63 percent) are Hispanic.
  • Most live in Hennepin (45 percent) and Ramsey (48 percent) counties.
  • They pay taxes.
  • Read More: 'It's Evil' - Dreamers Frightened By Trump's Anti-DACA Move

    A 2016 study produced by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs -- funded by the Minneapolis Foundation, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota and LatinoLead -- found economic benefits:

  • Minnesota young people in DACA pay $6,965,000 a year in taxes.
  • The number of "Dreamers" on health insurance rose from 6 percent to 56 percent.
  • Bank accounts up from 38 percent to 63 percent.
  • 70 percent of "Dreamers" got a new job.
  • Revoking DACA could stoke deportation fears. In Minnesota before DACA: 63 percent worried about getting deported to their country of birth.

    After DACA: Only 13 percent.

    The DACA report says Minnesota permanent immigration reform would generate thousands of new jobs and significant tax revenues.

    That's important at a time when 40 percent of Minnesota's workforce is eligible to retire by 2020.

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