Billionaire CEOs make a pro-immigration pitch to save DACA | Ladders

Silicon Valley's pro-immigration stance leads that of any other industry.
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Billionaire CEOs make a pro-immigration pitch to save DACA

On Thursday, America’s top businesses took a public stance against the U.S. government to make it clear that immigration was not just good for business, but necessary if the country expects to compete globally.

Following reports that the U.S. President planned to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more than 350 executives, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, signed an open letter to urge the White House to preserve the DACA program, which allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to stay without being deported. The letter warned that ending the program would mean an end to the nation’s “global competitive advantage.”

US business leaders: DACA keeps our “global competitive advantage”

The letter uses hard numbers in the upper digits to show what America would lose financially if it kicks out DACA recipients.

“Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation,” the letter states. “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.”

Technology leaders, in particular, have been ahead of other businesses to fight to keep DACA. Thursday’s open letter to the government, for example, was coordinated by FWD.us, a group co-founded by Zuckerberg. For Microsoft, people who work in this country under DACA are a key part of their workforce. Microsoft said it has 27 employees who are beneficiaries of DACA and identifies them as “software engineers with top technical skills; finance professionals driving our business ambitions forward; and retail and sales associates connecting customers to our technologies.”

For Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, the immigration issue is also personal.

In his statement against the proposed end to DACA, Nadella said that, “I am a product of two uniquely American attributes: the ingenuity of American technology reaching me where I was growing up, fueling my dreams, and the enlightened immigration policy that allowed me to pursue my dreams.”

This is not the first time Silicon Valley leaders have spoken up in favor of immigration policies. Apple, Facebook, Netflix and Uber were among the companies to co-sign an amicus brief against the White House’s proposed travel ban on Muslim-majority nations back in February.