Not many things can unite the biggest leaders in tech, but a fight for human rights and the future of young people in the U.S. has the the most notable moguls in the industry standing together.
In an open letter published late last night, executives from some of the most well-known companies in the country are calling on President Donald Trump and leaders of Congress to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is an Obama-era policy that gives leniency to undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children. Essentially it argues that children who did not necessarily know why or how they were immigrating should be offered protection.
The open letter goes into depth detailing how these young children, dubbed Dreamers, are critical to the future of the country and its homegrown companies. If these children lose their residency status, the economy may stand to lose billions of dollars in the long run.
The DACA program allows close to 800,000 Dreamers the ability to work and study without a constant threat of being deported. They all grew up in the U.S., pay income taxes and submitted to background checks. The letter goes into more detail about the program:
“More than 97 per cent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 per cent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home,” the letter reads. “At least 72 per cent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.”
The letter states that if all the Dreamers are deported, the country stands to lose a whopping $460.3 billion from the national GDP.
The response to the possible termination of DACA came from FWD.us, an immigration reform group founded by Mark Zuckerberg. The long list of signees on the letter includes executives and CEOs from Microsoft, Lyft, Amazon, Google and Apple, essentially a who’s who of the largest companies in the world.
“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,” wrote Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement 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.”
Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to share his solidarity.
“I stand with the Dreamers — the young people brought to our country by their parents,” wrote Zuckerberg. “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.”
Several other tech moguls shared personal statements as well, all detailing how the removal of Dreamers will do nothing but hurt the U.S. economy.
The Trump administration set an unofficial deadline of September 5 to repeal DACA, but it could happen even sooner. The tech industry has banded together on a few issues already to oppose the new U.S. government on issues ranging from climate change to transgender rights.