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The statistics on Dreamers are a nightmare

| Friday, August 24, 2018

“They serve in our military, they go to our colleges and universities and they work in Fortune 100 companies. These are exceptional people making important contributions to our country.

-Senator Kamala Harris on Dreamers

They’re valedictorians! They’re serving in the military! They’re CEOs! They’re Dreamers!

By the way the media portrays these young illegal aliens, you would think they were a newly-discovered group of super-humans. You can’t watch 15 minutes of CNN without Brooke Baldwin blubbering over a Dreamer like he or she is the second coming of Christ. Thus, I began to wonder: Are Dreamers truly an exceptionally high-performing subset of the illegal alien population? The answer is a resounding no. In this column, I will be spilling the tea on statistical evidence that reveals just how much of a nightmare Dreamers can be.

Dreamers and the military

The Pentagon reports that only 900 DACA recipients are currently serving in the military. That’s only 0.1 percent of DACA recipients. I think we can put that pathetic argument to rest (unless you’re proposing that only illegal aliens serving in the military get protected status).

Dreamers and education

It is impossible for liberals to mention Dreamers without using the word “valedictorian” in the same sentence. Even I was convinced this group of illegal aliens was brilliant, until I looked at the available data.

According to research published by the Migration Policy Institute, only 4 percent of DACA recipients have obtained a college degree. This is dramatically lower than the national average for American citizens in the same age group, 18 percent of whom have earned a college degree.

The data available for the academic performance of DACA recipients in high school was just as disappointing. In a research project led by Harvard professor Robert G. Gonzalez, it was revealed that 21 percent of DACA recipients have dropped out of high school. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the national dropout rate is only 5.9 percent.

As the statistics reveal, Dreamers are vastly less academically successful than the native population. Thus, I think it would be appropriate if the “Fake News” media stopped acting like their deportation is getting in the way of them finally earning that Ph.D. (or a high school diploma for that matter).

Dreamers and crime

In addition to their “scholarly achievements,” we are constantly bombarded with the promise that Dreamers are upstanding citizens — you know, the boy next door type. We’re constantly told that immigrants — especially Dreamers — are less likely to commit crime than American citizens. You might as well try to convince me that the sky is purple.

A recent study published by the Crime Prevention Research Center that reviewed over 30 years of criminal convictions in the state of Arizona has revealed some startling statistics about the criminal activity of Dreamers. The study found that while illegal aliens between the ages of 15 and 35 comprise only 2 percent of Arizona’s population, they make up 8 percent of Arizona’s incarcerated population. Furthermore, the study revealed that these young illegal aliens committed crimes at twice the rate of Americans in the same age group. To make matters worse, the study also reported that the crimes committed by these young illegal aliens were generally more serious than those committed by their American citizen counterparts.

That same report, which was authored by John R. Lott Jr., a man praised by famed economist Milton Friedman, reported that Dreamers were 45 percent more likely to be members of a gang than the native population. Furthermore, countless DACA recipients have had their status revoked by the Department of Homeland Security due to criminal convictions.

Dreamers and the economic impact

When liberals aren’t busy preaching about the nonexistent lawfulness of Dreamers, they attempt to ground their argument in the economic contributions of these young illegal aliens. They make grand claims about how much Dreamers contribute to our economy. They say: “By God, our economy will crash without the Dreamers!” Unfortunately, Dreamers are actually economically detrimental.

The research project led by Professor Gonzalez determined that 73 percent of DACA recipients are living in low income housing and relying on taxpayer subsidized benefits, including school lunch programs and some federal welfare programs. As has been well-established, Dreamers are not unlike the rest of the illegal alien population — they are low skilled, low wage, uneducated workers that create a net fiscal deficit.

Dreamers create further economic problems by occupying an already saturated labor market. Dreamers displace American workers, specifically working class Americans already experiencing financial hardship, and depress the wages of those fortunate enough to obtain employment. It is those Americans already at the bottom of the income ladder, those with least amount of education and highest unemployment and underemployment rates, that must compete with illegal aliens, including Dreamers. What could possibly compel us to legalize hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of additional foreign workers to compete with our own American citizens already experiencing severe labor saturation? They aren’t competing with Notre Dame graduates. They aren’t competing with the Wall Street executives that demand amnesty. They’re competing with the most vulnerable among us.

Finally, liberals often cite the decrease in GDP that we would experience should DACA recipients be removed from the economy. Of course if you take bodies out of the economy the GDP is going to shrink. However, the real measure of a nation’s wealth is not GDP — it’s GDP per capita. That is the figure we should be assessing (and I have a sneaking suspicion GDP per capita would increase with the removal of DACA recipients).

Dreamers and English literacy

If we can’t expect Dreamers to perform well academically, not engage in criminal activity or positively impact the American economy, can we at least expect them to be literate in English? No, we cannot.

According to research published by the Center for Immigration Studies, it is estimated that 24 percent of DACA-eligible illegal aliens are functionally illiterate. That same study estimated that a further 46 percent of that same DACA-eligible population have only a basic ability in the English language.

This should come as no surprise. Hispanic immigrants make up the grand majority of DACA recipients, and the Center for Immigration Studies found that 63 percent of Hispanic immigrants lack even basic literacy in English. ¡Triste!


The purpose of this article is not to be antagonistic for the sake of antagonism nor is it to answer the question of whether or not Dreamers should be deported. Rather, it is to dispel the many myths and pitiably unsubstantiated assertions being made by the proponents of legislation offering amnesty or protected status to childhood arrivals. All I want is a fair debate on the issue — a debate grounded in evidence and the truth, not false narratives and fanciful claims.

And although it should go without saying, I will explicitly make this point: of course, some Dreamers are amazing people. Of course, some Dreamers would make wonderful American citizens. And of course there are some terrible Americans that I would love to deport (Jerry Sandusky, Casey Anthony, Nancy Pelosi, etc.). But we can’t. We can, however, choose who we allow to become our fellow citizens. Let’s choose wisely.

Valedictorians? Spare me.

Note: You will notice that I cite research reports that focus on different groups: DACA recipients, illegal aliens eligible for DACA, all Dreamers, etc. While most of these groups have immense crossover, they are distinct. If you need clarification on any cited report, please email me.

Jeff is a senior at Notre Dame majoring in science-business with a minor in sociology. A native of St. Louis, Jeff believes that his hometown is the greatest city in the world and is always ready to talk about The Lou. In his free time, Jeff likes to play tennis, bake in the sun, read autobiographies, spend time with friends, talk on the phone with his mother or twin sister and listen to Mariah Carey’s voice soar through one of her signature love ballads. Hate mail can be directed to [email protected].

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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