A Supreme Court ruling upholds the rights of the nation’s Dreamers 

 |   Brad Smith - President

Brad Smith with Microsoft Employees Outside the Supreme Court in November 2019

Today’s sunny morning in Seattle brightened even further with the good news from the United States Supreme Court that restores legal protection for nearly 700,000 Dreamers, including more than 60 Microsoft employees. It was on their behalf that, in 2017, Microsoft filed a lawsuit with Princeton University and a Princeton student, Maria Perales Sanchez, to object to the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. We acted quickly because we saw firsthand this issue’s importance to the nation’s talented Dreamers and DACA’s critical benefits for every part of the American economy.   

Little did we know in 2017 that this case would bring Microsoft to the steps of the Supreme Court for the fifth time in little more than a decade. This has been a good week at the Supreme Court for the rights of people who live in the United States. As a company that has brought a wide range of important issues before the court, we constantly appreciate the hard work that takes place within its four walls. Today’s decision marks an important milestone, and we’re gratified that the court once again has provided a thoughtful and fair outcome to a complicated legal issue. 

We also appreciate that today’s decision, while critical, is but one more step in a long and winding road. The DACA debate will continue, and the big question now is what comes next. 

Our plea is for a national discussion that involves more light and less heat. A path that starts with a recognition of the Dreamers’ collective importance to our country. A conversation that brings people together in a bipartisan spirit in a creative search for common ground. A discussion that encourages the White House and Congress to work together. An approach that gives people the time and space to be thoughtful. A route that avoids precipitating another crisis in a year that has already had more than its share. 

Some may suggest that this path sounds more like a dream itself. But it’s what the nation and our economy need. 

Consider this: While Microsoft was the only company in the country to file a lawsuit to contest DACA’s rescission, when the case reached the Supreme Court, we were no longer alone. By last year, 145 businesses signed amicus briefs supporting DACA. And the business community was joined by an even broader group that included 210 educational institutions, 129 religious organizations and 109 municipalities. All of us stood together to underscore the Dreamers’ talent and importance to the economy and the country. 

And that was before anyone had heard of COVID-19. 

The past few months have provided even more dramatic evidence of the role that DACA registrants play in our country. More than 30,000 of them work in the healthcare space alone. They are nurses, lab technicians and respiratory therapists who serve Americans from all backgrounds as our country responds to a pandemic that is unique in our lifetimes. Another 200,000 Dreamers provide other essential services, working in pharmacies and grocery stores and delivering vital goods to our front doors. In the middle of a pandemic, any step that puts Dreamers at risk can put all of us at risk. 

We filed this lawsuit because we believed at Microsoft that it was important to stand up for our employees. To make clear that we had their backs. But along the way, we’ve come to appreciate even more clearly how important the Dreamers are for all of us.  

The summer of 2020 comes in a year of crisis, but it provides a potential inflection point for the nation’s future. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, it’s a time to reflect on and recommit ourselves to racial equity and justice, especially for the country’s African American and Black populations. It’s a time that calls for thoughtful action to protect the rights of people in a fair manner. It’s a discussion that needs to bring people togetherwhile making room for the nation’s Dreamers. 

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