America’s tech industry has urged President Donald Trump and other political leaders to continue a program that allows undocumented young immigrants to remain in the country.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an initiative that was established by former President Obama. Also known as the Dreamers Program, it gives young immigrants the opportunity to stay in the U.S., to take up jobs or study, rather than face deportation if they meet a number of criteria.
Media reports suggest that the Trump administration is working to remove the program, an eventuality that would leave the future of some 800,000 people unclear. Although the reports are not confirmed, FWS.us — a political advocacy group founded in 2013 and led by Facebook — has led a defence of the program with backing from a host of top tech names.
FWD.us issued the following open letter to the President and other political leaders:
August 31, 2017
To: President Donald J. Trump
To: Speaker Paul Ryan; Leader Nancy Pelosi; Leader Mitch McConnell; and Leader Charles E. Schumer
As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows nearly 800,000 Dreamers the basic opportunity to work and study without the threat of deportation, is in jeopardy. All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes.
More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.
Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation. Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.
Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or legislation that provides these young people raised in our country the permanent solution they deserve.
Executives who have signed the note include: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Box CEO Aaron Levie, eBay President and CEO David Wenig, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Salesforce CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff, Uber CTO Thuan Pham and many more.
Other companies have added their own words of support, too.
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith argued in a letter that participants in the program “make our country stronger” and that the closure of DACA would be “a step backwards for our entire nation.” CEO Satya Nadella shared his own perspective as an immigrant, explaining that he believes America draws its strength from its global mix.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in explaining that “these young people represent the future of our country and our economy,” while Uber said in a statement that Dreamers “deserve the chance to pursue the American dream.”