More than a hundred prominent chief executives are urging Congress to pass legislation to protect young immigrants, calling the looming expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program a “crisis.”
In a letter to House and Senate leaders sent on Wednesday, the group called on lawmakers to pass a bill supporting the so-called Dreamers.
“We write to urge Congress to act immediately and pass a permanent bipartisan legislative solution to enable Dreamers who are currently living, working, and contributing to our communities to continue doing so,” the letter reads. “The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country.”
The letter was signed by more than a hundred major executives, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook of Apple, Microsoft president Brad Smith, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.
The group urged lawmakers to pass legislation by a week from Friday, the deadline for Congress to pass a bill for government funding to avert a shutdown. DACA is set to expire on March 5, but the business leaders insisted the government needs time to implement a new program before that deadline.
Democrats have insisted that a DACA replacement be included in any spending deal, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the two bills will be separate.
The letter also cited a CATO Institute study that found ending the DACA program could cause a $215 billion decline in the gross domestic product.
“In addition to causing a tremendous upheaval in the lives of DACA employees, failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the workforce, and will result in significant costs,” the group wrote.
The letter adds, “While delay or inaction will cause significant negative impact to businesses, hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country are counting on you to work in a bipartisan way to pass permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay.”