Tech CEOs implore Trump to reconsider wind-down of DACA programme

1 Sep 2017

DACA supporters at an April 2017 demonstration. Image: Rena Schild/Shutterstock

Major tech figureheads are angered by reports that Trump is to end an Obama-era scheme that protected undocumented immigrants.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme was put in place by the Obama administration in 2012, allowing children brought illegally into the US to continue living there as long as they continued to obtain and renew their work permits.

Those taking part in DACA are known as ‘Dreamers’, and Reuters reported that there are close to 800,000 immigrants currently being protected under the programme.

A decision on DACA is due to take place today (1 September) within the administration of US president Donald Trump, with the rescinding of it entirely the expected outcome.

Tech flexing muscles against Trump

As it did with Trump’s travel ban for several Muslim-majority countries, the tech industry quickly voiced its concerns over the possible decision.

Executives such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook of Apple are among the signatories of a group letter addressed to Trump: “As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.

“The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, which allows nearly 800,000 Dreamers the basic opportunity to work and study without the threat of deportation, is in jeopardy.

“All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes.”

The letter noted the economic contribution of the Dreamers, with a projected loss of $460.3bn from America’s national GDP, and $24.6bn in social security and Medicare tax payments if the scheme is scrapped.

The letter concluded: “We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA programme. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act, or legislation that provides these young people raised in our country the permanent solution they deserve.”

When Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders was asked if Trump would still treat Dreamers “with heart” as he said in February of this year, she was affirmative: “Absolutely, the president stands by his statement.”

DACA supporters at an April 2017 demonstration. Image: Rena Schild/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects