This coming Wednesday over 350,000 California DREAMers – formerly undocumented immigrants without the right to work – will become eligible to join the state’s labor force as a result of President Obama’s “deferred action” policy. The president announced the policy, which allows immigrants who meet certain conditions work permits, in June of this year.
The policy has been criticized both for the possibility that it will create a “second-class citizenship,” as well as for its timing, as it potentially adds more workers to an already struggling job market. Proponents point out that the numbers of work permits due to be issued in California are merely a drop in the bucket, and that many of those eligible are already working. The new policy will allow them to take jobs that are not under the table, as well as pay taxes.
How do you think this change in policy will affect California’s economy?
Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s office at New York University School of Law
Steven Rafael, professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley; his research involves labor, immigration, and economics
Jose Alberto Saldivar, one of many who might now be able to apply for a work permit under the new policy