Tech Leaders Prepare to Fight DACA
September 7, 2017
They took to Twitter, Facebook and their corporate blog posts. They
called their congressional representatives, signed letters and pledged
This week, many tech industry leaders geared up for battle after the
Trump administration announced it was ending the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people in the U.S.
without legal documents to live, work and go to school without fear of
The fate of young adults who benefited from DACA is a civil rights
issue, say tech executives and leaders.
However, the lengths to which the tech industry will go to get Congress
to act before the program expires in six months remain unclear.
Already, some tech executives have pledged not to fire employees who are
DACA beneficiaries, even if they lose the legal right to work in the
Tools of political action
But there is more the tech industry could do. It could use its very
services to put out a call to employees and customers to lobby Congress,
something many firms and organizations did in 2012 when they
successfully fought anti-copyright piracy legislation.
Tech companies also could pledge not to disclose personal information
collected on their platforms to authorities to help deport people.
While many tech leaders spoke out this week against the decision, it's
not clear how uniform the industry is about how to advocate for DACA
“They need to go to Washington and sit down with people and say, ‘Get
this done,’” said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, an advocacy group
co-founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “It is a must-pass
DACA before tax reform
Some companies have promised to make congressional legislation their No.
1 issue, even putting aside their long-held hopes for tax reform, which
congressional leaders pledged to address this fall.
Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, said
Congress should pursue DACA legislation before tax reform.
“We need to put the humanitarian needs of these 800,000 people on the
legislative calendar before a tax bill,” Smith wrote in a blog post.
The software giant also is pledging to help with the legal costs of the
39 DACA beneficiaries who it knows work at its company, he said.
Zuckerberg, in a Facebook post, called on people to contact
In an email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company would
provide help to the more than 250 employees who are in the program,
according to CNET.
Ads attacking Trump
The Emerson Collective, the philanthropic organization run by Laurene
Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow, began airing political ads Wednesday in
some cable markets criticizing the Trump administration action regarding
Outside of Silicon Valley, business leaders also were joining the call
Stas Gayshan, managing director of Cambridge Innovation Center, a
workspace business in the Boston area catering to entrepreneurs, said he
planned to be part of “ramping up pressure to make it clear that these
folks are Americans.”
“This is a pretty clear assault on what makes our country great,” said
Gayshan, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Uzbekistan when he was
nine years old.
In Chicago, Rishi Shah, chief executive officer and founder of Outcome
Health, a digital health firm currently valued on paper at more than $1
billion, said he was seeing the tech industry move quickly to get
Congress to act.
“This is not a niche issue for the industry,” said Shah, whose father
emigrated to the U.S. from India. “We really see this as a defining