- 108 companies, including IBM, Facebook, Twitter and Uber are trying a new tactic to pressure the Trump Administration not to deport 800,000 people covered by the Obama-era DACA policy. They have filed a brief in support of a lawsuit brought by multiple US states challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA.
On Wednesday, the tech industry stepped up its efforts to keep 800,000 people from being deported as a result of the Trump’s Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
IBM, Twitter, Uber, Facebook and other companies are officially weighing in to support a lawsuit filed by California, Minnesota, Maryland and Maine. The suit challenges the Trump administration’s decision to end the controversial Obama-era policy known as DACA.
This brief attempts to make a business case that ditching DACA would harm the US economy. Here’s one line:
“Just as DACA sent a powerful message of inclusion, its rescission tells the immigrants who have been integral to the growth and development of our society and economy for decades that they are no longer welcome here. As a result, DACA’s rescission will reduce the future ability of U.S. companies to attract individuals from around the world to support America’s continued economic growth and prosperity.”
DACA allows illegal immigrants to be apply to become exempt from deportation if they entered the US as children under the age of 16 and stayed out of trouble. Proponents of DACA say that many of these immigrants were brought to the US by their parents as very young children and know no country other than the US as their home.
Some 800,000 people are covered under DACA and are known as “dreamers,” a reference to the Dream Act which was proposed legislation during Obama’s term that would have given them legal immigration status and a path to citizenship. The gridlocked Congress under Obama never passed that legislation. But under the DACA policy, dreamers are still able to get work permits and attend school in the US. The dreamers also pay taxes.
IBM has more than 30 “dreamers” in its ranks
In September, the Trump Administration announced that it would end the DACA policy in six months for those already covered by it, queuing them up to be deported unless Congress passed legislation in that time frame to cover them.
Much of the tech industry became vocally opposed to the end of DACA, with executives from Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Facebook and Apple tweeting their support for dreamers in September.
That decision also set off at least five lawsuits challenging it, including the one filed by California and other states.
But tech companies, especially IBM, are doing more than just tweeting. IBM has been waging an all-out campaign trying to convince Congress to pass a law that allows dreamers to get legal status. IBM employs more than 30 dreamers. CEO Ginny Rometty personally talking to members of Congress as well as people in the Trump administration – Rometty was a member of Trump’s now-disbanded business advisory group. And IBM has been targeting influential lawmakers with ads and sending its dreamer employees to personally meet with lawmakers and tell their stories.
For instance, one of them “worked around-the-clock remote shifts to ensure continuity of IBM services when Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston,” IBM’s Christopher Padilla, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs told Business Insider in an emailed statement.
This latest effort, an amicus brief signed by multiple companies in support of California’s lawsuit, is another way to crank up the pressure.
IBM certainly isn’t alone in its efforts. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Uber, Marriott International and other big U.S. companies are lobbying in various ways, including launching a new lobbying coalition, Coalition for the American Dream earlier this month.
Many are also supporting FWD.us, a pro-immigration reform lobbying group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2013.
“IBM 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,” Padilla said.
Here’s a full copy of the brief.