Companies from a broad range of industries, including technology, finance and retail, swiftly condemned the Trump administration’s decision to end a program preventing the deportation of immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children — a group known as Dreamers.
“It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it,” Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg wrote on the social media service.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, calling it “an unconstitutional exercise.” Trump will delay the action for six months so Congress can work on legislation to codify the protections President Barack Obama created in 2012. “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Many business leaders argued for keeping the program by underscoring the economic contributions made by immigrants, many of whom are employed by the largest companies in the U.S. Some called on Congress to pass new legislation, while others threatened legal action. Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey also called the decision “cruel.”
“Immigration is a complex issue but I wouldn’t deport a kid who was brought here and only knows America,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in a tweet. “Congress must address.”
Wells Fargo & Co. also weighed in from the finance industry. “Young, undocumented immigrants brought to America as children should have the opportunity to stay,” spokeswoman Jennifer Dunn wrote in an email. “DACA is relevant to our team members and the communities we serve.”
The comments from executives across several large American industries showed that people affected by the DACA decision are employed by some of the nation’s biggest companies. One of them, an engineer at diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Indiana, found out about Trump’s move in a text message.
“I don’t like to try to stress out about it or worry too much, because there’s nothing that I can guarantee,” said the engineer, who asked not to be identified because of his immigration status. “I’m used to growing up not handed anything. You also have to be ready to adapt, to constantly adapt no matter what happens.”
The engineer, now in his 20s, hadn’t yet turned 5 years old when he immigrated to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico. He was a student intern at Cummins for three years while in college and started as a full-time employee in June. He’s in the company’s engineering development program, which helps workers develop technical skills to prepare for possible leadership positions. His DACA work permit is scheduled to expire in 2019.
Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger said in a statement that the U.S. has a “moral obligation” to help the Dreamers and called on Congress to find a permanent legislative solution to support them.
The tech sector has been particularly outspoken on the issue because it employs many immigrants and their children.
Software maker Microsoft Corp. called on Congress to upend its planned fall legislative calendar to address the issue and said it may go to court to defend Dreamers within its ranks. “We need to put the humanitarian needs of these 800,000 people on the legislative calendar before a tax bill,” Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft says it has 39 employees impacted, while Apple Inc. has 250 working in 28 states. “We issue an urgent plea for our leaders in Washington to protect the Dreamers so their futures can never be put at risk in this way again,” Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook wrote in an email to employees that was obtained by Bloomberg.
“It’s against our values to turn our backs on #DREAMers,” tweeted Dara Khosrowshahi, an Iranian immigrant who recently became CEO of Uber Technologies Inc.
“All DREAMers deserve the full support of our elected leaders,” Tesla Inc. said in a statement.
Hundreds of executives had urged Trump not to scrap DACA last week. In an open letter to the president and congressional leaders, the lobbying group FWD.us said 780,000 children of undocumented immigrants are part of DACA and estimated a $460.3 billion hit to the U.S. economy and $24.6 billion in lost Social Security and Medicare tax contributions if these people can’t work legally in the country.
AT&T Inc. has more than 500 employees registered under DACA and is telling them to reach out to the company with questions, according to a person familiar with the matter. Among retailers, Best Buy Co. CEO Hubert Joly asked Congress to act in support of DACA, while Under Armour Inc. tweeted that it “stands with America and the #DREAMers. We are stronger together.”
Javier Palomarez, CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, resigned from Trump’s diversity coalition, calling today’s decision “inhumane and economically harmful.”
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said that when people come to the U.S. to “learn, work hard and give back to their communities, we should allow them to stay.”
Digital music subscription service Spotify Ltd. created a playlist titled “No Moment for Silence” that features immigrant and immigrant-supporting artists sharing messages of support.
“Ending DACA is a crushing blow to those who want to contribute to our future,” Twitter’s Dorsey said.
Read more: www.bloomberg.com