Updated below with WTIA statement.
Leaders in the technology industry including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and many others are calling on President Donald Trump to continue shielding from deportation hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children.
The letter, signed by approximately 300 leaders in tech and the rest of the business community — also including Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson — responds to reports indicating that Trump plans to end the program known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA. The program, created during the Obama administration in 2012, allows children of people who immigrated to the U.S. illegally, also known as Dreamers, access to temporary work permits and protection from deportation as long as they submit biometric data to the government and keep a clean record.
The letter was published on FWD.us, a site founded by tech leaders like Bill Gates and Zuckerberg to advocate for issues like immigration reform. The business leaders wrote that ending the program would be a blow to the economy.
It’s the latest examples of tech leaders opposing Trump policies on immigration, including the president’s restrictions on travel to the United States from Muslim-majority countries.
Nadella, himself an immigrant, posted about the DACA issue on LinkedIn: “As a CEO, I see each day the direct contributions that talented employees from around the world bring to our company, our customers and to the broader economy. We care deeply about the DREAMers who work at Microsoft and fully support them. We will always stand for diversity and economic opportunity for everyone. It is core to who we are at Microsoft and I believe it is core to what America is.”
Here is the full text of the FWD.us letter:
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.
Update: The Washington Technology Industry Association (WITA) released this statement from its CEO Michael Schutzler.
The tech industry in our state and across the country stands in solidarity with the Dreamers. These are young people who were brought to our country by their parents. Most have lived here for over 10 years. America is their home because their parents brought them here – these children had no choice. They committed no crime. Dreamers want to serve this country because it is the only home they have ever known.
Today we call on our President to keep the DACA program in place. We’re also calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act. The time to act is now.
These young people are an essential part of our country’s future. They are strong students and leaders in our communities. By helping them become recognized citizens, we act upon the ideals that created a strong America, and we build a better world for all of us.