- Over the past couple of days, it’s been hard to tell how much progress has actually been made towards solving the DACA situation.
- But business leaders have a message for Congress: Pass a law to save DACA Dreamers by January 18 or you will be causing US companies a lot of disruption and expense.
- Over 100 of them, mostly from the tech sector, sent an open letter urging Congress to act and save them from “disruption” and “significant costs.”
More than 100 business leaders signed a letter to the US Congress on Wednesday insisting that lawmakers promptly pass a law to protect Dreamers.
The letter was signed by a who’s who of tech leaders including IBM CEO Ginni Rometty – who has been fervently championing this cause; Apple CEO Tim Cook; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
A few from outside of tech also signed the letter such as Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, Target CEO Brian Cornell and Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky.
Dreamers are the people covered by an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that granted work visas to about 800,000 people brought to the US illegally as children and who were raised in the country. President Trump ended the program, wanting Congress to pass a law that provided for a permanent fix for them. He gave Congress a March deadline. After that, without a law, Dreamers could be subject to deportation.
An important deadline is nearing
Earlier this month, three former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security warned Congress in an open letter that the law must really be passed by mid-January. This would allow enough time for implementation before the March deadline.
Trump held a public meeting with Congressional leaders on Tuesday to try and push them along but they appear to be as deadlocked as ever. Congressional Republicans don’t want to fix DACA until there’s a plan to build a border wall.
During that meeting, when Trump appeared willing to work on a DACA bill that didn’t include a provision for the wall, some of his biggest supporters grew publicly irate at him.
Meanwhile, Democrats don’t want the wall or the estimated multi-billion dollar taxpayer expense to build it, and their supporters would grow irate with them if they compromised and agreed to it.
All of this left these CEOs feeling the need to speak out and urge lawmakers to action. Many of these companies employ Dreamers.
Here’s the full text of the letter (emphasis ours).
Dear Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, and Leader Pelosi:
We write to urge Congress to act immediately and pass a permanent bipartisan legislative solution to enable Dreamers who are currently living, working, and contributing to our communities to continue doing so. The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country.
It is critical that Congress act to pass legislation before January 19th. This window of action leaves only 45 days for implementation prior to March 5th. As a bipartisan group of former DHS secretaries recently wrote, it will take time for the agency to implement any program outlined by Congress, underscoring the absolute urgency of the January 19th deadline. In addition to causing a tremendous upheaval in the lives of DACA employees, failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the workforce, and will result in significant costs.
Studies by economists across the ideological spectrum have also determined that if Congress fails to act our economy could lose $215 billion in GDP.
We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of the American public of all political backgrounds agrees that we should protect Dreamers from deportation.
While delay or inaction will cause significant negative impact to businesses, hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country are counting on you to work in a bipartisan way to pass permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay.
- Coalition for the American Dream