Many of tech's biggest companies are banding together to resist President Trump's stated decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Per CNet's report, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are a few of the 100 companies which sponsored an amicus brief filed in San Francisco yesterday.
The brief, which is publicly available, touches on one of the primary talking points around DACA, which is that it grants a heavy economic boon to these companies in the form of access to an expanded, skilled workforce. They write:
DACA has produced -- and is continuing to produce -- important benefits for America's companies and for our economy as a whole. Employment is not a zero sum game. Dreamers are filling vacancies at companies that cannot find enough workers to fill their needs.
Since the it was first introduced in 2012 by then-President Obama, over 800,000 children and young adults have taken advantage of the program, which defers deportation action and proceedings. In essence, it allowed children and teenagers who were brought in by their undocumented parents to remain in the U.S. while lawmakers worked to institute meaningful immigration reform. No progress has been made on that front, and with Trump's election, many don't expect that fact to change. But in the time since, those 800,000 DACA recipients, or Dreamers, have received full educations, with some of them graduating and joining the American workforce as trained professionals. The tech companies are choosing to center their focus on their contributions and the impact they have as individuals on the tech industry at large.
As an industry, tech has long relied on the skills of workers from overseas, which means they also rely on the government to enable such practices. The foremost example of this is the H1-B visa, which The Independent calls a "key pipeline" for tech companies, as it allows tech companies to bring talent into the country on work visas. The practice has been criticized by many in the past, as American workers are supposedly being replaced by these folks, but if nothing else, the practice shows that tech companies are heavily invested in immigration reform and rights. CNet also points out that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, created FWD.us back in 2013, a lobbyist group that works to advocate for immigration reform in Washington, D.C. He can also be seen speaking with a few Dreamers in this video he posted to Facebook.
Elsewhere, Axios reports that Apple has filed its own brief. In theirs, they write, in part:
These talented and entrepreneurial people fill important and varied roles across the company, including in operations, research and development, administration, sales and marketing, and retail. Apple and its customers have benefitted greatly from their intelligence, ambition, creativity, resilience, and hard work. These employees are important contributors to Apple's unique culture. That unique culture enables employees throughout Apple to do the best work of their lives and excel at creating the most innovative products and providing the very best customer service.
Additionally, IBM has voiced their support, as Christopher Padilla, their VP of government affairs wrote:
They contribute to our company and help to drive innovation and excellence at IBM. In fact, one of our Dreamers recently worked around-the-clock remote shifts to ensure continuity of IBM services when Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston," Padilla said. "BM is actively urging Congress to find a permanent legislative solution to enable Dreamers to stay in the United States. We have also urged the court in this case to find that DACA's revocation was unfounded. The program is due to begin phasing out in less than five months, and we are committed to providing as much stability and predictability as possible to DACA recipients who work at IBM
Politico reports that Trump is still meeting with GOP senators, who are set to report on how much progress they've made in ending the DACA program, which is scheduled to terminate in March. Ostensibly, their plans would "a pathway to legal status" for the 800,000 or so Dreamers, but there's no word yet on what that pathway might look like.