Hopes for President Trump to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has diminished dramatically after the White House put out an aggressive list of demands. The Trump administration wants tougher immigration and border security measures, crackdowns on sanctuary cities, green card restrictions and money for a border wall. Now there is a lot of concern over what will happen to the estimated 700,000 people covered by the DACA program. Not only would there be a huge human factor to consider in sending them back to countries with which most aren't familiar, but the cost to our economy could be staggering: According to a Center for American Progress study earlier this year, the estimated loss of DACA workers would reduce U.S. GDP by $433 billion over the next 10 years, with California, Texas and Illinois being hit hardest.
The first-ever CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey in June found that 21 percent of small-business owners expect changes in immigration policy to have a negative effect on their businesses. Already many small- and midsize business owners have been peppering HR service-provider companies, like TriNet, with questions about how the DACA rescission will affect some of their employees. (Mark Zuckerberg's pro-immigration reform group, FWD.us, found that 91 percent of DACA recipients are employed.)
The survey findings highlight an important factor being overlooked by policymakers in Washington: the economic contribution made by immigrants.
By their very nature, immigrants are risk-takers, and some of our most successful are foreign-born, like Elon Musk of Tesla (South Africa), Google 's Sergey Brin (Russia) and investor George Soros (Hungary). "Many immigrants start businesses—whether it's high-tech companies like Elon Musk or Main Street businesses—so they're wonderful sources of entrepreneurship," says James Richards, a director of TriNet, which partners with 13,000 small- and medium-sized businesses that collectively have more than 330,000 employees.
Immigrants are almost twice as likely to start businesses in the United States as native-born Americans, research from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reveals. Many are key job creators, since companies founded by immigrants that are backed by venture capital have created an estimated average of 150 jobs per company and generated $63 billion in sales.