Impact of undocumented immigrants working - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Impact of undocumented immigrants working

Hundreds of young undocumented immigrants may soon be receiving their work permits through the new Deferred Action Program. But this is something area economics professors say would have a small impact if any to our economy.

Undocumented immigrant Thania Torres says, "I'm going to school. I want to go to college. I want to be a nurse. And keep working to be able to go to school." Torres goes to Tascosa High School in Amarillo. She's just one of hundreds in our panhandle in the same situation.

WTAMU Assistant Economics Professor Neil Meredith says the hundreds of undocumented immigrants make up about one percent of the population and wouldn't really impact our local economy considering many have been working under the table. He says what it could do is increase federal income tax revenue.

Meredith says, "It could be that later on, longer term people go and get more training as a result of deferred action. And maybe, they end up adding even more value to the economy in what they produce as they get more education and skills." The two-year renewable work permits could be granted within two months. He says Miami went through a similar situation where more than 100,000 Cubans came in the Mariel Boatlift during a time of economic recession, and around half continued working there.

He says it did not impact their local economy negatively. Whittenburg Law Firm Attorney Pace Rawlins says, "I've had a few who are like you know I have a scholarship to play football. I have a scholarship for an Ivy-league school but I can't get it without a social security number. So of course, deferred action is a remedy for these kids, who are intelligent. Kids who we want them to progress. They're good for our country." Catholic Family Service Immigration Counselor Al Muñiz says, "We have scheduled consultations for about two months or more. And we are talking about every half hour."

The majority are in high school and from Amarillo, Pampa and Hereford. Some even from as far as New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

Powered by Frankly