Many of America’s world-leading technology chiefs and dozens of business leaders have sent an open letter to Donald Trump urging him not to kill off the special legal provisions offered to “Dreamers”, people brought to the US illegally as children – in a drastic move widely expected from the White House on Friday.
The Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and other business titans such as Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, Tim Cook of Apple and the fashion design legend Diane von Furstenburg appealed to Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or Daca, the policy generated by the Obama administration to protect those who arrived in the US as undocumented children.
The letter tells the president that such Dreamers are critical to the future success and competitiveness of American companies, and that the US economy will suffer if the young peoples’ job security and protected residency status are stripped away.
An immigration reform group founded by Zuckerberg, FWD.us, orchestrated the letter, as reported by Politico.
Zuckerberg and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, were two of the leading signatories, saying of Dreamers: “With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”
Other companies signing the letter include Google; Uber; Foursquare; GoFundMe; Lyft; Tumblr; and dozens of smaller companies and groups, such as Tradesy; the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition; and progressive law firms.
Supporters of the Daca program were nervous but cautiously optimistic as recently as June that Trump would preserve Obama-era rights for those affected to work or go to college without threat of deportation.
Trump has seemed conflicted about how to go forward on Daca, but speculation has been growing in recent days that he would crush the 2012 Obama initiative. Attorneys general from 10 conservative states have threatened to sue the government next week if it doesn’t end the program.
Millie Herrera, founder of the Miami Group, a management, IT and marketing consultancy, who fled Cuba with her family when she was 10 and ended up legally in the US, signed the letter and told the Guardian that dreamers “are the future of this country” and that Trump must continue to include them in a thriving society.
“It’s not only the human thing to do but it’s also the economically beneficial thing to do. These young men and women hold down jobs, pay rent, are law-abiding and contribute hugely, and we need their skills,” she said.
It was not the Dreamers’ fault that they had arrived in the US undocumented and trying to take away their rights and deport them would simply be racist and cripplingly expensive, she said.
“We need compassion but also common sense, here,” she said. She called for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, at which Congress has balked for at least a decade.
The letter calls on Trump to preserve the Daca program and also calls on Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act, or similar legislation, that would give Dreamers permanent legal status in the US.
“Unless we act now, all 780,000 hardworking young people [affected by the program] 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,” the letter says.