Trump is deliberating what to do about the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Fox News and other news outlets reported that he was likely to end the program while allowing individuals currently in the country to remain until their deferments expire.
But in an open letter, Zuckerberg and dozens of other CEOs wrote that “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.”
Their letter was a signal that Trump will face a backlash from corporate America if he decides to end the program. Among those who also signed was Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon; Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix; Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple; Electronic Arts’ Jacob Schatz; Naveen Chopra, the interim CEO of Pandora; Twitter’s Jack Dorsey; Snap’s Evan Spiegel; and Randy Falco, the CEO of Univision.
So far, none of the CEOs or heads of Hollywood’s six major studios or their corporate parents have signed the letter. The issue of immigration reform is particularly acute in Silicon Valley, as firms depend on specialized tech talent from other countries. Zuckerberg co-founded the group FWD.us, which is a champion of immigration reform.
In the letter, the business leaders noted the widespread economic impact of those in the program, known as “dreamers.”
“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,” they wrote. “More than 97% are in school or in the workforce, 5% started their own business, 65% have purchased a vehicle, and 16% have purchased their first home. At least 72% of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.”
The DACA program was started in 2012 by President Barack Obama’s administration. It allowed for those who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday to defer their deportation and obtain a work permit, under a number of conditions. The program expires every two years, so it has to be renewed.