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Many of tech’s most prominent executives, including the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google, have joined more than 100 American business leaders in signing an open letter asking Congress to take action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before it expires on March 5. Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Sundar Pichai are among the executives who want Congress to pass legislation ensuring that Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and were granted approval by the program, can continue to live and work in the country without risk of deportation. Failure to do so will not only result in upheaval, but may also potentially cost the U.S. economy $215 billion, they said.
Tech companies have been among the most vocal supporters of Dreamers since the Trump administration announced in September that it plans to end DACA. Other tech leaders who put their names on the letter, which was sent to Congressional leaders and will also run as a full-page newspaper ad on Thursday paid for by the Coalition for the American Dream (a PDF is at the bottom of this article), include IBM CEO Ginni Rometty; Brad Smith, the president and chief legal officer of Microsoft; Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman; and CEOs or other leading executives of AT&T, Dropbox, Upwork, Cisco Systems, Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Intel, Warby Parker, Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Box, Twitter, PayPal, Code.org, Lyft, Etsy, AdRoll, eBay, StitchCrew, SurveyMonkey, DoorDash, Oath and Verizon*.
Addressed to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, the open letter calls on Congress to vote on extending DACA by January 19 in order to give the Department of Homeland Security time to implement changes before March 5.
That timing would also make sure new legislation is passed before a potential government shutdown if Democrats and Republicans can’t reach a compromise on government spending. The letter says “In addition to causing a tremendous upheaval in the lives of DACA employees, failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the workforce and will result in significant costs. Studies by economists across the ideological spectrum have also determined that if Congress fails to act our economy could lose $215 billion in GDP.”
DACA was implemented in June 2012 by the Obama administration after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would have given Dreamers a way to apply for permanent residency, failed to pass Congress. DACA grants Dreamers two years of deferred action from deportation and also makes them eligible for a work permit. The Trump administration revoked the DACA program in September, but delayed its cancellation by six months so Congress would have time to figure out what to do with the 800,000 people protected under DACA.
President Donald Trump has expressed support for Dreamers, but he also insisted this week that he would not back a DACA bill unless it included funding for the Mexican border wall that he says will stop illegal immigration.
*Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Oath (formerly AOL), which is in turn owned by Verizon.
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