Silicon Valley condemned the Trump administration's announcement Tuesday that it would end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects some young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The decision, which calls for the program to be wound down within the next six months, will affect an estimated 800,000 DREAMers, as people in the program are known. Tech executives at companies from Apple to Facebook to Airbnb said that unless the Republican-held Congress comes up with a legislative fix, the end of the program will strike a blow to the economy and to their workforces.
When news of the potential change leaked late last week, dozens of tech companies protested it by signing a letter circulated by the lobbying group FWD.us.
FWD.us President Todd Schulte once again issued a statement expressing displeasure with the decision on Tuesday morning.
We are incredibly disappointed by President Trump's decision to end DACA in six months, which will force 800,000 Dreamers out of their jobs and put them under threat of deportation, unless Congress acts. What this decision makes abundantly clear is that Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle must immediately come together — right now — and pass a bipartisan Dream Act: 800,000 lives are quite literally at stake.
Dreamers are students, teachers, nurses, and engineers. They are young people who came to this country as children, and most only know America as home. For many years, congressional Republicans have said their objection to DACA was its implementation by executive action rather than via legislation. Now, the ball is in the GOP’s court: without the bipartisan Dream Act or a permanent legislative solution, an average of 1,400 new DACA recipients every single business day, for the next two years, will lose their ability to work legally and be subject to immediate deportation. And Democrats must be willing to negotiate in good faith with GOP leadership to reach a solution. Ultimately, every member of Congress must now decide whether they are going to allow Dreamers the chance to earn a path to citizenship by passing the bipartisan Dream Act, or whether they are going to watch as our neighbors and coworkers are ripped out of their jobs and our communities and deported to countries they may not even remember. No bill will be perfect, but inaction is unacceptable. Congress must act.
The time of reckoning is here — and we call on the American people to speak out and demand Congress pass a bipartisan Dream Act.
Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg criticized the decision in a pair of Facebook posts. "This is a sad day for our country," the Facebook CEO wrote.
Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to employees worldwide, which reads in part:
I've received several notes over the weekend from Dreamers within Apple. Some told me they came to the U.S. as young as two years old, while others recounted they don't even remember a time they were not in this country.
Dreamers who work at Apple may have been born in Canada or Mexico, Kenya or Mongolia, but America is the only home they’ve ever known. They grew up in our cities and towns, and hold degrees from colleges across the country. They now work for Apple in 28 states.
They help customers in our retail stores. They engineer the products people love and they’re building Apple’s future as part of our R&D teams. They contribute to our company, our economy and our communities just as much as you and I do. Their dreams are our dreams.
Cook followed up with this tweet.
At Uber, Chief Technology Officer Thuan Pham recounted in a personal note how he and his family fled Vietnam on a fishing boat when he was 10 years old.
"Immigrants often risk their lives for a chance at freedom and opportunity, and our country remains the world’s beacon of freedom and opportunity," he wrote. "Immigrants have built and contributed to America since its very beginning, and are at the center of our social fabric and economic prosperity. My heart breaks to see so many people who are in the same situation today that I was in many years ago."
Newly appointed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi followed up by tweeting, "It's against our values to turn our backs on #DREAMers. Everyone deserves a chance to work, study and contribute — the #AmericanDream!"
Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green:
Google CEO Sundar Pichai called for Congress to adopt legislation to defend DACA.
A Google spokesperson also told BuzzFeed News in a statement: “The DACA program has provided critical protections to hundreds of thousands of individuals, including Google employees and their families, allowing them to continue to make important contributions to our country, society, and economy. We are disappointed in today’s decision to end the program and urge Congress to take quick action to enact a permanent legislative solution.”
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, which is part of Google, also tweeted: "Saddened by the decision to turn against our friends, neighbors & coworkers. Congress must do the right thing: protect Dreamers #DefendDACA"
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted his support for DREAMers, touting a blog post from the company's chief legal officer calling for Congress to reprioritize the fall legislative calendar and move quickly to protect the 800,000 DREAMers now at risk:
Sam Altman, president of Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator:
Other tech companies — like Airbnb, Salesforce, eBay, IBM, Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter — were quick to weigh in, too.
Airbnb's three founders — Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, Nate Blecharczyk — also shared this statement with BuzzFeed News:
We founded Airbnb based on the idea that our lives and our world are better when we accept each other. Those aren't just economic or business values. Those are the values America has been and should be all about.
“At Tesla and SpaceX, we deeply value our workforce, including those who have come to the United States in order to provide a better future for themselves and their families," a spokesperson for both companies said. "All DREAMers deserve the full support of our elected leaders, not just because of their positive economic impact but because it's the right thing to do.”
Oracle declined to comment. Co-CEO Safra Catz was on the executive committee of Trump's transition team.
The business community at large also spoke out against the decision.
“Wells Fargo believes young, undocumented immigrants brought to America as children should have the opportunity to stay in the United States. DACA is relevant to our team members and the communities we serve.”
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon:
“America is and always has been a country of immigrants. We should do everything in our power to continue to attract the best and brightest because they make us stronger as a people and as an economy. And, when people come here to learn, work hard and give back to their communities, we should allow them to stay in the United States.”
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein:
Joshua Bolten, CEO of The Business Roundtable, a trade association representing large companies:
“Business leaders count on those employees to contribute to our enterprises, generate economic growth and create more jobs for Americans. The challenge in finding a solution for those covered temporarily by the DACA program is further evidence of the importance of working together to improve our system.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. Ryan Mac and Matthew Zeitlin contributed to this report.