More than 300 business magnates joined forces in a letter published Thursday urging President Donald Trump and congressional leaders to leave protections for immigrants known as “Dreamers” in place.
Known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program offers a safeguard for illegal immigrants that arrived to the U.S. as children. Reports indicate that Trump is expected to sign an order, potentially as early as Friday, to end DACA. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press conference earlier this week that no final decision has been made regarding the program.
“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,” reads the CEOs’ letter, addressed to Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer. “Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.”
The signatories include Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Y Combinator co-founder Sam Altman, and billionaire Warren Buffett.
The letter was published on its own unique site, but was also posted on an immigration reform lobbying group “FWD.us,” which is led by Zuckerberg and some of the other biggest names in the tech industry, like Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The consortium opposed Trump during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, but ended up donating $5,000 to the Trump administration’s transition team.
Zuckerberg didn’t just show his support through the two coalitions he is a part of; he also wrote a post on his Facebook profile arguing that “we need a government that protects Dreamers” so that’s why “we’re calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act or another permanent, legislative solution that Dreamers deserve.”
Other leaders, like Nadella, wrote their own missives supporting the DACA program and showing dire concerns for Trump’s ostensibly pending decision to terminate it.
A consortium of at least 100 companies, much of the same ones from the most recent letter, filed a legal brief in February opposing the Trump administration’s executive order on restricting immigration. Roughly 37 percent of the Silicon Valley region is foreign born, according to a report by the Institute for Regional Studies. (RELATED: Immigrant-Rich Tech Industry Responds To Trump’s Immigration Ban)
The White House announced an executive order in early May establishing a team to work with the private sector to update the federal government’s digital infrastructure. Due to the generally liberal-leaning sentiments of Silicon Valley, however, it’s likely that not many leaders in the tech industry would be willing to work with Trump. That became evident when Trump was forced to disband both his Manufacturing and Strategic and Policy Forum Councils in mid-August because a number of highly influential CEOs dropped out.
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