Prominent tech leaders including Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos have joined other CEOs from more than 100 major companies and trade groups to sign an open letter urging congressional leaders to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This action was prompted by the Trump administration’s decision to end the Obama-era program that allows immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children before 2007 to stay without any fear of deportation.
DACA was introduced by the Obama administration in 2012. Under this program, young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children before 2007 will be protected against deportation on the grounds that they meet certain requirements.
The program is officially supposed to end by March 5, 2018, but a possible shutdown of the Federal Government may happen next week. Through this open letter, the CEOs are asking Congress to vote on extending the DACA program by Jan 19, so Homeland Security has time to work out administrative changes in the program before March. They are arguing that letting the program’s expiration pass could cost the U.S. economy approximately $215 billion.
“The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country,” the letter reads. “Failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the workforce and will result in significant costs.”
CEOs from prominent companies including IBM, Dropbox, and Microsoft are asking Congress to pass permanent legislation that will allow these immigrants called “Dreamers” to continue living in the U.S., as long as they are currently working and making a contribution to their communities.
The letter came just a day after a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA, as the decision could affect as many as 800,000 immigrants.
The White House has yet to respond to requests for comment.