Today, the Trump administration announced that they will be shutting down the Obama-era “Dreamers” immigration program. In response, Silicon Valley companies are speaking out against the repeal.
Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Dreamers program enables nearly 800,000 undocumented children to stay in the US to continue to live, study, and work in the country. To be able to qualify as a Dreamer, you must have been under 16 years of age and continue to abide by certain set rules.
Silicon Valley companies have heavily criticized Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies before, and now companies are letting the administration know their stance.
Here is the letter that tech leaders co-signed on Thursday titled “Leaders of American Industry on DACA”:
Since the country’s birth, America has been the land of opportunity – welcoming newcomers and giving them the chance to build families, careers, and businesses. In turn, our nation has been strengthened and fueled by the energy, drive, and passion of immigrants. As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of Dreamers, 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 Dreamers 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.
The letter was signed by leaders such as Nadella, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, and Meg Whitman.
In response to today’s DACA announcement by the Trump administration, here are the organizations that have publicly issued statements:
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
I stand with the Dreamers — the young people brought to our country by their parents. Many have lived here as long as they can remember. Dreamers have a special love for this country because they can’t take living here for granted. They understand all the opportunities they have and want nothing more than the chance to serve their country and their community. And Dreamers deserve that chance.
We need a government that protects Dreamers. Today I join business leaders across the country in calling on our President to keep the DACA program in place and protect Dreamers from fear of deportation. We’re also calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act or another permanent, legislative solution that Dreamers deserve.
These young people represent the future of our country and our economy. They are our friends and family, students and young leaders in our communities. I hope you will join us in speaking out. You can read our letter at: Dreamers.FWD.us/Business-Leaders.
Thuan Pham, Uber CTO
Dreamers grew up here, live here, and are contributing to our communities and our economy. Their contributions make America more competitive and they deserve the opportunity to work, study, and pursue the American dream.
Brad Smith, Microsoft President and chief legal officer
We are deeply concerned by news reports about changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that are under consideration. These changes would not only negatively impact thousands of hardworking people across the United States, but will be a step backwards for our entire nation.
Let me explain why.
The roughly 800,000 “DREAMers” who are registered beneficiaries of DACA were brought to this country as young children. Although undocumented, these young people grew up in the United States, attended our schools, built careers and started businesses, bought houses, started families and became part of our communities. The DACA program did not grant them a permanent immigration status — it only provided a temporary reprieve from deportation, requiring renewal every two years. But it provided work authorization, allowing them to integrate as contributing members into our nation’s workforce and society.
Ending DACA will drastically disrupt the lives of these individuals who willingly came forward to register with the federal government. They could lose their jobs and risk deportation. This repeal will also have significant economic consequences. Studies estimate that ending the program could cost the American economy $460.3 billion in GDP (gross domestic product) and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions over the course of a decade.
Our country will also lose the tremendous talent of these individuals. DACA recipients bring a wide array of educational and professional backgrounds that enable them to contribute in crucial ways to our nation’s workforce. They are part of our nation’s universities and work in every major industry. They are artists, advocates and health care providers. They help meet the needs of our communities and our companies.
We experience this in a very real way at Microsoft. Today we know of 27 employees who are beneficiaries of DACA. They are software engineers with top technical skills; finance professionals driving our business ambitions forward; and retail and sales associates connecting customers to our technologies. Each of them is actively participating in our collective mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. They are not only our colleagues, but our friends, our neighbors and valued members of the Microsoft community.
These employees, along with other DREAMers, should continue to have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to our country’s strength and prosperity. Instead of ending DACA, our policymakers and legislators should enact the DREAM Act or other permanent solution for DREAMers — a goal that continues to have bipartisan support.
Our country has always been a beacon of opportunity. If we are determined to preserve American leadership and excellence, let’s build lasting solutions that extend dignity and opportunity while promoting our country’s economic prosperity.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
Today Brad Smith published a blog post sharing our deep concern about potential changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that are under consideration. You can read Brad’s post here.
For me, it comes back to two things: the enduring principles and values that have made the United States what it is, and my own personal story.
As I shared at the White House in June, I am a product of two uniquely American attributes: the ingenuity of American technology reaching me where I was growing up, fueling my dreams, and the enlightened immigration policy that allowed me to pursue my dreams.
There is no question in my mind that a priority must be to create more jobs and opportunity for every American citizen. On top of this, smart immigration can help our economic growth and global competitiveness.
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.
This is the America that I know and of which I am a proud citizen. This is the America that I love and that my family and I call home. And this is the America that I will always advocate for.
We believe that the young people who would benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deserve the opportunity to take their full and rightful place in the U.S. The possible changes to the DACA that were recently reported would remove all benefits and force people out of the U.S. – that is simply unacceptable.
Removing DREAMers from classrooms, universities, internships and workforces threaten to put the very innovation that fuels our technology sector at risk. Just as we said with previous Executive Orders on Immigration, the freedom for ideas and innovation to flow across borders is something we strongly believe in as a tech company. More importantly it is something we know is necessary to fulfill our mission to protect and advance the internet as a global public resource that is open and accessible to all.
We can’t allow talent to be pushed out or forced into hiding. We also shouldn’t stand by and allow families to be torn apart. More importantly, as employers, industry leaders and Americans — we have a moral obligation to protect these children from ill-willed policies and practices. Our future depends on it.
We want DREAMers to continue contributing to this country’s future and we do not want people to live in fear. We urge the Administration to keep the DACA program intact. At the same time, we urge leaders in government to enact a bipartisan permanent solution, one that will allow these bright minds to prosper in the country we know and love.
We strongly oppose ending DACA, which would harm thousands of hard working young people who make our community thrive and eliminate their contributions to the US economy.
Brian Chesky, AirBnB Co-founder and CEO
Dreamers belong in our country, our companies and in our communities. I’m proud to support them https://t.co/VNud3AcytU
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) September 1, 2017
Craig Silliman, Verizon executive vice president of public policy
Diversity isn’t just some politically correct concept, a liberal agenda item, the right thing to do. Diversity is important because it strengthens our companies, our organizations, our society. This is particularly important to remember as the nation debates the right policies to move our country forward. One of those important debates involves the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program. There currently are nearly 800,000 individuals in the United States who arrived in the country as undocumented immigrants when they were children. They are referred to as the “Dreamers.” They grew up in this country and they are now investing in it and contributing to it. Almost all of them are now in school or in the workforce, and many have started their own businesses. At Verizon we have benefited immeasurably from the diverse experiences, talents and work ethic of our many immigrant employees, as have most other large companies and our country as a whole. The Dreamers are a truly valuable resource for our economy and our society. The DACA program has ensured that they could continue to be a part of our schools and companies and communities, but now there is a risk that this program will end. At a time when we are fighting to ensure that the US economy remains strong on the global stage, it is vital that we not lose the advantage of the Dreamers with their energy, diverse experience and backgrounds. This is exactly the type of diverse talent that has made the United States successful to date and on which our success will depend in the future.
But leveraging diversity to strengthen our society isn’t just the responsibility of political leaders. We all must do our part in our individual roles through our everyday actions, large and small, to harness the potential of diversity to create more successful outcomes. For example, I am a lawyer and a key part of a lawyer’s day-to-day work is trying to get someone else to accept your point of view. We advocate, we negotiate, we argue, we reason. So the measure of our success isn’t just the elegance of our contract or legal brief or closing argument – it is whether it persuaded the person on the other side of the table. So a good lawyer must have not only intelligence but also empathy, experience and an openness to the idea that not everyone sees the world through the same lens that we do. While we know academic excellence isn’t limited to one race, gender or group of people, we sometimes would like to think that we can measure quality on some numerical scale – SAT scores or IQ tests or GPAs – but that simply isn’t the case. If Verizon’s legal department were filled with only one type of person we wouldn’t be effective because we wouldn’t have the diversity of thought to be creative and to persuade others who don’t have the same world view. The strength of an organization comes from bringing together a diverse set of ideas and approaches to find the best one for any given situation. And a diverse set of ideas comes from a team with a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds. So diversity isn’t just a nice thing to have; it is essential for an organization’s success.
But diversity often doesn’t arise naturally. We all have our internal biases. It usually is easiest to surround ourselves with those who confirm our world view, who have a similar background that we do. That means that if we just follow the path of least resistance, we will end up with less diverse organizations, and therefore organizations that are less effective. If we want to build great teams, we have to make a bit of an effort to ensure diversity. This is an important point: diversity programs are NOT about lowering the bar for quality; they are about setting up a process to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to be evaluated to ensure that we get the best overall quality in our organizations.
Whether we are talking about policy issues on the national stage or the numerous decisions each of us make throughout our daily lives, one thing is clear: strengthening our country by embracing and utilizing the diversity of all people that call the U.S. home won’t just happen. We will have to be intentional, courageous and show real leadership. I’m hopeful that we can all come together as a nation to find ways to preserve DACA and benefit from the passion, energy and drive of the Dreamers. At Verizon, we’ll continue to look for that higher gear to find ways to invest in our diverse workforce as a way to propel our company forward to be better, faster, and stronger.
250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 3, 2017
We will keep updating the post as more responses come in.