The Trump administration has announced that they will come up with a decision on DACA, the Obama-era program that provides a legal status for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, by Tuesday. Immigration advocates are fighting hard to preserve DACA, worried about what will happen to the 800,000 recipients who have assimilated into American culture, working jobs and attending university, if they were to have their place upended. And in addition to DACA recipients, some of the biggest leaders in business are expressing their support for DACA.
In an open letter published by the immigration advocacy group FWD.us, CEOs from some of the largest companies in America expressed their support for the program. They pointed to the way that DACA recipients (often referred to as "dreamers") have proven themselves as Americans and integrated themselves into society. "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," the letter states.
But beyond simply making a moral case on behalf of the dreamers, the letter from business leaders also makes the case on behalf of business and economics — which might just be the language that gets through to President Trump. "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."
Some of the signatories that have gotten the most attention come from the tech industry. Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook all joined in urging the preservation of DACA. In addition to signing the letter, Zuckerberg posted his own statement on Facebook about his support for the program.
This is far from the first time that the business community has broken with the president who claimed as a candidate he could run America like a business. Earlier this month, Trump's business councils dissolved after numerous industry leaders resigned from them. And back in the early days of his administration, business leaders also took issue with Trump's approach to immigration as many came out in opposition to the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations.
Trump has defied the wishes of a united business community before, such as when he pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords. But Trump is also being pressured to keep DACA (or find a legislative solution) by members of his own party. We have to wait until Tuesday to find out if all this pressure has worked.