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Letter: Study offers 'laughable' support for DREAM Act

12:18 PM EDT, November 1, 2012

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Since Rev. Robert Turner (letter, Oct. 25) chose to rebut my Oct 11 DREAM Act letter, I am obliged to set the record straight.

I have read the UMBC study that claims a $66 million benefit to the Maryland economy for each cohort of dreamers. It is laughable.

First, $41 million of that magical $66 million is "private net benefits." This is the net increase in wages that illegals will earn after college, including their reduced expenses. Most of the remaining $25 million claimed "benefit" is due to projected reduction in rates of incarceration and public assistance used by illegals, who they assume will go to jail if they do not go to college. The rest of the benefit is taxes on dream wages.

Going to college does not make dreamers legal to work. The employer who hires college graduates is fundamentally different than the employer who hires construction crews. Most college grad hires have to be "on the books." The unemployment rate for college grads in 2012 was 10.4 percent, while underemployment was 19.8 percent. They must be dreaming that there will magically be more jobs. If not, then the "economic benefit" will not accrue, and American kids will be crowded out of what few jobs exist.

The UMBC study admitted that it did not include the "crowding out effect of reduced educational attainment of citizens" (their language) and it suggested that reduced revenues to Maryland colleges could be recouped through "reduced services" and "increased tuition." They estimated that each of 12 Maryland colleges would lose $1.8 million per year.

Rev. Turner, there are 7 billion people on this planet. Most of them could really use help with tuition to a Maryland college. If you want to pay for them all, go right ahead. Your "struggling" parishioners will have fewer jobs between them.

Amy Chai

Ellicott City