January 4th, 2018

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The trouble with DACA kids is they don’t have enough money

If our DACA kids had $500,000 each (and had not been brought into the country illegally) they could apply for the EB-5 program and obtain a green card for themselves and their immediate families.

Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, individuals from countries all over the world can become lawful permanent residents of the US (evinced by possession of a “green card”) by investing $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a business which will create at least ten full time jobs.  In addition, they can obtain legal status for a spouse and any unmarried children under twenty-one.  Over time, they will probably be able to bring in other extended family members including siblings, parents and grandparents.  They do not need to speak English, or have any particular skills.  Most of the recent EB-5 immigrants have been from China with significant numbers also from Korea, the UK, and Taiwan.

In contrast, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) kids were brought into the country while sixteen and under and have now been in the country for ten years or more.  Based on a survey by The University of California – San Diego and The Center for American Progress; 93% or more are either employed or in school with more than 30% pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher. At the time of application, all had to be in school, or have a high school degree or have been honorably discharged from the US military.  The Center for American Progress estimates that The US will lose about $460 Billion in GDP over the next ten years if DACA registrants are deported.

Compared to this $460 Billion, EB-5 investors have invested a maximum of about $9 Billion per year, assuming average investments of $1 million each.  The statistics are not clear, but it appears that the actual annual investment is much less, maybe half this amount and less in earlier years.  These are not fees but temporary investments with a reasonable expectation of repayment plus a return on the investment.  The number of jobs created by these investments are less than 90,000 per year – probably much less, given that many if not most of the projects financed would obtain alternative financing if EB-5 funds were not available.

Crazy isn’t it?  We are prepared to deport 700,000 DACA “Dreamers” who are already here, well educated and productive.  They are a very young segment of our aging population.  Losing their skills and work will create a significant hit to national productivity.  The loss in economic demand will actually increase unemployment.  At the same time, we are willing to sell permanent residence to people who have money to invest on a temporary basis.

Stripped to its essentials, what this means is that we will welcome almost anyone who has money but are ready to cast out some our own productive residents because they don’t have enough cash to buy a green card.