Young Immigrants Vital to Georgia’s Workforce, Healthy Economy

Potential harsher federal immigration policies under the new presidential administration pose special concern for young Georgians whose parents brought them to the United States as children. A new federal crackdown threatens havoc for tens of thousands of young Georgians who now enjoy some limited legal protections which allow them to work, go to school and avoid deportation. In doing so, it could cause headaches for Georgia employers and deprive the state’s economy of thousands of productive, upwardly mobile workers.

An estimated 47,000 Georgians, most of them in their late teen years or 20s, are now enrolled or immediately eligible for a federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Created in 2012, DACA allows some undocumented immigrants brought here as children to live and work in the U.S. without threat of deportation. If the new presidential administration eliminates DACA as promised, these 47,000 young Georgians stand to lose their ability to work or access higher education. Federal authorities could also choose to deport them to the countries of their birth, even if they lived the bulk of their life in the U.S.