We are deeply concerned by news reports about changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that are under consideration. These changes would not only negatively impact thousands of hardworking people across the United States, but will be a step backwards for our entire nation.
Let me explain why.
The roughly 800,000 “DREAMers” who are registered beneficiaries of DACA were brought to this country as young children. Although undocumented, these young people grew up in the United States, attended our schools, built careers and started businesses, bought houses, started families and became part of our communities. The DACA program did not grant them a permanent immigration status — it only provided a temporary reprieve from deportation, requiring renewal every two years. But it provided work authorization, allowing them to integrate as contributing members into our nation’s workforce and society.
Ending DACA will drastically disrupt the lives of these individuals who willingly came forward to register with the federal government. They could lose their jobs and risk deportation. This repeal will also have significant economic consequences. Studies estimate that ending the program could cost the American economy $460.3 billion in GDP (gross domestic product) and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions over the course of a decade.
Our country will also lose the tremendous talent of these individuals. DACA recipients bring a wide array of educational and professional backgrounds that enable them to contribute in crucial ways to our nation’s workforce. They are part of our nation’s universities and work in every major industry. They are artists, advocates and health care providers. They help meet the needs of our communities and our companies.
We experience this in a very real way at Microsoft. Today we know of 27 employees who are beneficiaries of DACA. They are software engineers with top technical skills; finance professionals driving our business ambitions forward; and retail and sales associates connecting customers to our technologies. Each of them is actively participating in our collective mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. They are not only our colleagues, but our friends, our neighbors and valued members of the Microsoft community.
These employees, along with other DREAMers, should continue to have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to our country’s strength and prosperity. Instead of ending DACA, our policymakers and legislators should enact the DREAM Act or other permanent solution for DREAMers — a goal that continues to have bipartisan support.
Our country has always been a beacon of opportunity. If we are determined to preserve American leadership and excellence, let’s build lasting solutions that extend dignity and opportunity while promoting our country’s economic prosperity.