Business

Trump Gets Earful From Tech CEOs: 'Dreamers Are Vital to the Future of Our Companies'

President Donald Trump
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump speaks at Trump Tower on Aug. 15, 2017 in New York City. 

American business leaders ranging from multi-billionaires to young startup CEOs have signed an open letter to President Trump in an effort to dissuade him from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows kids who were brought into the U.S. illegally to stay and work in what is, for many of them, the only the country they've ever known.

The national coalition that includes Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon's Jeff Bezos writes that if Trump guts or ends the Obama-era program, nearly 800,000 Dreamers "will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation."

Trump is expected to make a decision on whether to end DACA on Friday. As he has done with several other issues, Trump has sent mixed signals on his intentions, both promising to end the program on his first day and vowing to show compassion to "these incredible kids." Various news organizations have reported in recent days that the administration is leaning towards ending the protections.

The letter was organized by Zuckerberg's FWD.us site and signed by a growing list of over 350 executives. They include Bezos (Amazon), Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Warren Buffett, Naveen Chopra (Pandora), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Marc Benioff (Salesforce), Mary Barra (General Motors), David Wenig (eBay), David Mandelbrot (Indiegogo) and Dan Schulman (PayPal), among others.

The leaders argue that if the hundreds of thousands of workers are deported, "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."

The letter ends with a call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would  provide a permanent fix for the undocumented immigrants.

Read the full letter below:

August 31, 2017

To: President Donald J. Trump
To: Speaker Paul Ryan; Leader Nancy Pelosi; Leader Mitch McConnell; and Leader Charles E. Schumer

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) program, 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. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.

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.

We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program. 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.

Signed, [see the list]