DACA Doesn’t Cost Blacks or Hispanics Any Jobs

Ting Shen/Xinhua via ZUMA

Tracy Jan notes today that the Trumpies are claiming an end to DACA will give jobs back to red-blooded Americans:

It’s a long-running talking point spouted by Trump administration members and the president himself: Undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from black and Hispanic Americans. Hours after President Trump dismantled an Obama-era program that had granted 800,000 young undocumented immigrants permission to live and work in the United States, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders again made the claim.

It’s a known fact that there are over 4 million unemployed Americans in the same age group as those that are DACA recipients; that over 950,000 of those are African Americans in the same age group; over 870,000 unemployed Hispanics in the same age group,” Sanders said during Tuesday’s press briefing. “Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.”

What Sanders leaves out is that those 800,000 DACA recipients also buy lots of stuff, creating jobs for other people. In fact, the amount of stuff they buy is almost exactly equal to the wages of the jobs they take. In other words, if every DACA recipient got deported tomorrow, GDP would decrease by about the equivalent of 800,000 jobs. It would help nobody.

This is why immigration doesn’t generally have a big effect on employment. It can have a small effect, because the economic activity of immigrants might not precisely match the wages they take out of the economy. This is why you see studies showing that undocumented workers are responsible for tiny changes in employment and wages, usually somewhere between -2 percent to +2 percent, mostly clustering around zero.