Apple, Google, Facebook and more speak out on DACA – CNET

Immigration Activists Rally In Support Of The Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Plan

Hundreds of immigration advocates and supporters attend a rally and march to Trump Tower in support of DACA Wednesday.

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President Donald Trump’s latest decision hasn’t even been made public, and already major tech executives are speaking out.

This time, they’re expressing their disapproval of reports that Trump will put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that offers undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children a chance to work and study without fear of deportation. Since its inception in 2012, about 800,000 people have signed up.

But a group of state attorneys general have threatened to challenge DACA if Trump doesn’t rescind it himself by Sept. 5. On Monday evening, the Department of Justice said Attorney General Jeff Sessions would make an announcement on the state of DACA on Tuesday at 8 a.m. PT. (The briefing can be watched here.)

Now, tech industry leaders are joining members of Congress in urging Trump to keep the program in tact.

Tech CEOs have been increasingly flexing their political muscle over the years, speaking out on everything from gay rights to early childhood vaccinations. Since Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, the tech industry has been increasingly speaking out against him. 

First, they opposed his controversial travel ban, and again when it was revised. They also rejected Trump’s ban on transgender troops, announced in July. And a number of tech CEOs resigned from presidential advisory councils over Trump’s handling of the rally of white supremacists, klansmen and Nazis in Charlottesville, Va.

Now tech executives are banding together again to speak out for “Dreamers.” Here’s what they had to say:

FWD.us 

A collection of tech’s biggest names, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Uber CTO Thuan Pham and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and more than 300 others, signed a group letter to Trump, as well as leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

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.

FWD.us is a political action group started four years ago by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to push for immigration reform.

Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who moved to the US from India three decades ago, took to (where else?) recently purchased LinkedIn to publish his statement.

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.

Brad Smith, the company’s President and Chief Legal Officer, also penned a blog post arguing that rescinding DACA would “not only negatively impact thousands of hardworking people across the United States, but will be a step backwards for our entire nation.”

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 contributionsover 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.

Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that 250 Dreamers worked at the consumer electronics giant. He also urged a solution “rooted in American values.”

Facebook

The world’s largest social network has been the center of a lot of political fights lately, but that hasn’t stopped CEO Mark Zuckerberg from increasingly speaking out. “These young people represent the future of our country and our economy,” he wrote. “They are our friends and family, students and young leaders in our communities.”

Mozilla

Denelle Dixon, chief business and legal officer for Mozilla, which makes the Firefox browser, put out a statement Thursday night:

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.

First published Aug. 31, 9:42 p.m. PT.
Update, Sept. 4, 10:33 p.m. Adds news of Sessions of briefing, additional comments.
Update, Sept. 1 at 1:08 p.m.: To reflect White House statement that Trump is expected to announce a decision on DACA on Tuesday. 

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