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Tech executives urge Trump to protect Dreamers

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FWD.us, an immigration reform group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is gathering signatures from tech CEOs for a letter urging President Trump to keep the DACA program. | AP Photo

An immigration reform group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is collecting signatures from tech CEOs for a letter urging President Donald Trump to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era policy that offers leniency to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

A draft letter from the group FWD.us, obtained by POLITICO, asserts that so-called DREAMers are critical to the future of American companies and that the nation’s economy stands to lose billions of dollars if their job security and residency status are revoked.

“With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage,” the draft letter states.

FWD.us declined to comment. It was not immediately clear when the letter will be made public, but executives already said to have signed the letter include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith, Lyft CEO Logan Green and President John Zimmer, and Uber Chief Technology Officer Thuan Pham.

Trump pledged during the campaign to kill DACA, which allows hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to secure work permits and remain in the U.S. without the threat of deportation. But the president is said to be conflicted on the fate of the program, POLITICO reported earlier this week. A group of state attorneys general have said they will challenge DACA in court if Trump does not rescind the program by Sept. 5.

“These employees, along with other DREAMers, should continue to have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to our country’s strength and prosperity,” Smith wrote in a blog post.

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Immigration is a hot-button topic for the tech industry, which relies heavily on workers born in other countries to fill engineering and other technical roles. Many of the industry’s top executives, including Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, criticized Trump’s executive order earlier this year banning travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries.

The DACA dustup is the latest point of tension with the tech sector, which has rejected Trump’s stances on issues like climate change and transgender rights. A number of business executives, including from the tech industry, dropped out of Trump’s business councils in reaction to Trump’s statements on the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At the same time, tech companies are trying to engage with the administration and Congress on issues like tax reform and net neutrality, which could have a direct impact on their future business plans. For that reason, companies must cautiously approach rifts with Republican leaders.

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