Last week, the Justice Department sued California for its so-called sanctuary state laws and alleging obstruction of federal immigration enforcement. "This is basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy," Gov. Jerry Brown said after the suit was filed.
California has around 223,000 young people who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program set up by President Barack Obama in 2012. In September, Trump said he was ending DACA, which protects people brought illegally to the U.S. as children from deportation and provides them work authorization. The president gave Congress six months to iron out a legislative fix.
If the program ends, the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, estimates it would cost California more than $11 billion in gross domestic product losses. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a conservative think tank, disputes that figure as "flawed."
Matthew O'Brien, director of research for FAIR, said "assertions that DACA will cause economic damage to California, or any other state, are overblown, at best." He also believes after "welfare programs, education costs, the low tax contributions ... are taken into account, ending DACA might result in a net savings to the state of California."
Overall, roughly a quarter of the nation's undocumented immigrants reside in California or as many as 2.6 million people as of 2014, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank. Also, nearly 1 in 10 Californians is an undocumented immigrant, working mostly in agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.