Employee Retention

Companies Pledge to Support Dreamers

On September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects approximately 780,000 undocumented immigrants, known as dreamers, from deportation.

Source: DESKCUBE / iStock / Getty

Reaction to the announcement was swift, with companies, including many that employ dreamers, pledging to support these immigrants.

Taking a Stand

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, was one of the first corporate leaders to speak to the issue, in a September 5 blog post, shortly after the DACA announcement was made.

He urges Congress to enact legislation that will allow dreamers to stay in the country. He also acknowledges this may not happen, and says that should Congress not protect dreamers, Microsoft will step in.

Smith writes: “For the 39 Dreamers that we know of who are our employees, our commitment is clear. If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees. If the government seeks to deport any one of them, we will provide and pay for their legal counsel. We will also file an amicus brief and explore whether we can directly intervene in any such case. In short, if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.”

Using Social Media

Other corporate leaders took to social media to show their support.

On September 5, Apple CEO Tim Cook, tweeted, “#Dreamers contribute to our companies and our communities just as much as you and I. Apple will fight for them to be treated as equals.” In an earlier tweet, Cook noted that 250 of his Apple coworkers are dreamers.

On September 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a live Facebook forum with three dreamers, and called for Congress to protect DACA recipients.

Speaking with One Voice

On August 31, in anticipation of a decision by the Trump administration, more than 400 business leaders signed an open letter to President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Charles Schumer.

The letter, posted at FWD.us, the website for a group founded and led by Zuckerberg that aims to give the technology community a voice in American politics, calls on President Trump to preserve DACA, and for Congress to pass legislation that will allow dreamers to permanently stay in the country.

Signatories include leaders of technology companies, as well as leaders from nearly every industry.

The letter, in part, reads: “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. 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. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”

About DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced in June 2012, allowed certain people who came to the United States as children, provided they met several guidelines, to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. These individuals have also been eligible for work authorization.

Basically, this has meant they can stay in the country, go to school, obtain jobs, and even serve in the military. Although dreamers are not U.S. citizens, they are people who have grown up in the United States. For many, this is the only home they have ever known.

A message on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website now indicates that DACA has changed. It leads to the DACA announcement, which explains the “next steps for phasing out DACA.”

Note: As this article went to press, the Trump administration and Congress have started talking about legislation to protect dreamers—legislation that may allow companies to retain their employees.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.