Over 100 human resource leaders have expressed their support for undocumented workers and made a call to action in light of the Trump administration’s announcement that will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that grants temporary work permits and protection from deportation to younger undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children. Recently, according to Erin Mulvaney at the National Law Journal, chief human resource officers from companies such as Target, HP, and 21st Century Fox signed and sent a letter to Congress late last month calling for a legislative solution to preserve DACA and expressing concern over the intensity of political rhetoric on immigration:
“We are concerned that the rhetoric around immigration issues often obscures the truth about how foreign-born workers of all skill levels benefit their companies, American workers, American communities, and the American economy,” according to the letter, organized by the HR Policy Association. “Further, while we believe the existing immigration laws need to be responsibly enforced, we are concerned that discouraging these workers’ participation in the U.S. workforce through stricter policies would reduce productivity, intensify the ongoing workforce crisis, and disadvantage American businesses and their U.S. employees operating in the global economy.”
Last month also saw the launch of the Coalition for the American Dream, a group of employers dedicated to lobbying for the rights of these workers, which includes major power players such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. The coalition is also urging Congress to take action to protect the DACA program’s participants, often referred to as “Dreamers”:
“Roughly 800,000 Dreamers who are working, going to school, and serving in our nation’s military will lose their ability to work and study legally, will be forced from their jobs, and will be subject to immediate deportation from the country they grew up in,” the coalition said in an ad on Politico on Thursday.
With the DACA program now set to expire in March, the fate of the Dreamers is now in the hands of Congress, who will need to take legislative action to protect them.
The nation’s most prominent business leaders have not been shy about expressing opposition to the Trump administration’s attitude towards immigrants; these are just the latest examples. Right after President Trump ordered the cancellation of DACA in early September, numerous companies made public statements condemning the decision, with the CEOs of HP, Netflix, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon all issuing statements against the administration’s stance. Microsoft has even gone as far as offering legal support to Dreamers in its workforce, and other companies have followed suit.
On Wednesday, a large collection of tech companies filed an actual legal challenge against Trump’s efforts to end DACA. Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Twitter were among the companies supporting the effort by multiple state attorneys general to get an injunction to stop the government from ending the program.
The Trump administration has also expressed an interest in tightening various work visa programs as well as building a border wall to curb unwanted immigration from Mexico. In addition to having moral opposition to these policy positions, companies have practical talent-related concerns about the administration’s immigration policies. Tech companies rely heavily on the H-1B skilled worker visa to bring in the world’s most skilled engineers to develop their innovative products. Companies with fluctuating demand for low-skilled or service workers, meanwhile, rely on the H-2B visas to meet seasonal workforce needs. Hiring through those channels has already slowed and companies are concerned about the business challenges further changes may present.