Three of Washington state’s biggest companies say they won’t stand for President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks have filed statements of support for a multi-state lawsuit seeking to halt the Trump administration’s action. New York, Washington, and Massachusetts are leading the lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of New York, with participation from 15 other states and the District of Columbia.
Amazon says in its statement that at least nine of its employees are Dreamers, “and we believe, like most large U.S. companies, there are many more.”
“These employees are located in several different states, including Washington and California, and work in a wide range of technical and non-technical job families, from software development to procurement,” said Amazon immigration lead Ayesha Blackwell-Hawkins in the statement of support for the lawsuit. “If these employees lose their status and are deported, Amazon will suffer injury.”
Starbucks covers the biennial fees required to stay in DACA for its employees and says at least 84 employees have sought that reimbursement, according to the company’s letter of support for the lawsuit.
Microsoft has already voiced harsh criticism of the decision and pledged to use its legal resources to protect the “Dreamers” who work for the company and could be deported without protection from DACA.
“For the 39 Dreamers that we know of who are our employees, our commitment is clear,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees … In short, if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.”
President Barack Obama created the DACA program in 2012 to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally to remain in the country, provided they don’t have a criminal record. On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it would phase DACA out over the next six months, meaning Dreamers could be deported.
The lawsuit claims that Washington state is home to more than 17,800 Dreamers and estimates that ending DACA would cost the Washington economy $258 million in lost tax revenue and $6.4 billion in GDP growth over 10 years.
“Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots,” the complaint says. “The consequence of the President’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal.”
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has been outspoken in leading legal challenges to the Trump administration’s immigration policy. He filed the first lawsuit over the president’s executive order restricting travel from several majority-Muslim countries, winning an injunction earlier this year.
“Allowing nearly 18,000 Dreamers to live and work in Washington makes our communities stronger and better places to live,” Ferguson said in a statement. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that they can continue to feel secure in what is, for many of them, the only home they have ever known.”
Full text of the letters of support for the DACA lawsuit from Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks are below.