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Immigration bill would leave minimum wage Dreamers at risk

Demonstrator at a pro-immigration rally in New York City.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An immigration bill proposed by conservative House Republicans and supported by President Trump includes a provision that would criminalize non-student DACA recipients if their annual income falls below 125% of the federal poverty rate.

Why it matters: A covered individual making the federal minimum wage would be unable to miss a single hour of work in the entire year, let alone take a sick day or vacation day.

The Math

  • Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, as it has been since 2009. It currently is the applicable rate in 21 U.S. states.
  • Someone earning $7.25 per hour who works 40 hours per week for 52 weeks would earn $15,080 in a year. This assumes that the person works all federal and state holidays.
  • The 2018 federal poverty level for an individual is $12,140 per year.
  • 125% of the federal poverty rate would be $15,075 per year.
  • Bottom line: The bill establishes just a five dollar buffer between what such an individual would earn and being found in criminal violation of immigration law.

Kathryn Rexrode, communications director for the House Judiciary Committee, did not return requests for comment.

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