Microsoft and Princeton urge strong protections for Dreamers in DACA rulemaking

Microsoft employees at the Supreme Court in November 2019.

Editor’s note: In 2017, Microsoft and Princeton University, along with Princeton student María Perales Sánchez, filed suit over the attempted rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, eventually prevailing in the Supreme Court. Today, Microsoft and Princeton submitted comments in support of a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DHS Docket No. USCIS-2021-0006, published September 28, 2021).

In their comments, Microsoft and Princeton explain why the program reflects wise policy judgments and why the contributions of DACA recipients are so important to our economy and society. Microsoft currently employs 81 DACA recipients, which it would not be able to do without the work authorization component of a DACA policy. At Microsoft, DACA recipients work in roles ranging from engineers and technical sales professionals to finance managers and program managers. They are core members of teams across Microsoft’s business, and Microsoft relies on them to produce innovative software solutions that power economic growth in this country.

Below is the cover letter from Christopher L. Eisgruber, President, Princeton University, and Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair of Microsoft, underscoring the significant impact of Dreamers. The full filing will be available here.


On behalf of Princeton University and Microsoft Corporation, we submit the following comments in response to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DHS Docket No. USCIS-2021-0006, published September 28, 2021).

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a wise and humane policy. It is critically important to DACA recipients, their families and communities, their employers, and society more broadly. Princeton and Microsoft are proud to join together in support of the proposed rule because we know first-hand the importance of DACA and the invaluable contributions that DACA recipients have made to higher education, the economy, and our country. Indeed, DACA is so important to us that Princeton and Microsoft filed suit, along with a Princeton alumna who was then an enrolled student, to stop its attempted rescission in 2017. We and our co-litigants eventually prevailed in the Supreme Court.[1]

We applaud the Administration for its efforts to strengthen and fortify this important policy, and we are pleased to offer the attached comments and suggestions on the proposed rule.

Undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children – a group commonly referred to as DREAMers – grew up in this country and attended our schools. Many now have children who were born in this country and are American citizens. They regard the United States as their home, and they contribute tremendously to our communities and our economy. DACA provides a path by which they can further their education, obtain work, pay taxes, contribute to Social Security, seek healthcare, and travel. DACA enables these law-abiding individuals to live as productive members of society and to work at companies like Microsoft without constant fear of removal. It allows them to feel secure enough to invest in their future and the future of this country.

For the past decade, Princeton and Microsoft have relied on the legal protections provided by the 2012 Napolitano Memorandum, as well as the work authorization for DREAMers that deferred action makes possible. At Princeton, DACA recipients have been among our most accomplished and respected students. They conduct research, earn academic honors, serve in leadership roles on campus, and otherwise help enhance our learning environment. The benefits bestowed by DACA allow our students to participate in all aspects of the university experience, including study abroad, internships, and university-related travel. DACA also allows these students to secure employment upon graduation, using their education, talent, and training to thrive as members of our society and make our communities and our country stronger. At Microsoft, we employ more than five dozen DACA recipients who serve in critical roles and make invaluable contributions to our company. Microsoft benefits from and relies on their talents in a range of areas and has a significant interest in retaining these employees. Other educational institutions and companies and, indeed, our economy and nation benefit similarly. We would all be significantly and negatively impacted by the loss of DREAMers.

Just as our country has come to rely on the contributions of DACA recipients, DACA recipients rely on DACA in their pursuit of the American Dream. Deferred action has allowed millions of motivated individuals to pursue their educations, develop their talents, and seek employment. Without the full breadth of these protections, they would be confined to living in the shadows, unable to contribute freely and fully to the communities around them. They should be reassured, through concrete action by our government, that their contributions are welcomed and valued. And the businesses and institutions that benefit from their contributions should be reassured that these valuable community members will be treated justly.

We encourage DHS to exercise its statutory authority to establish fair rules that uphold long-standing protections for DREAMers and take all actions appropriate to fortify DACA. We also urge Congress to pass legislation that would provide permanent protection and a path to citizenship for these individuals. Legislative action is the only way to ensure the long-term protection that DREAMers deserve and require; enacting it would be just, humane, and beneficial to the national interest.


Christopher L. Eisgruber
Princeton University

Bradford L. Smith
President, Vice Chair
Microsoft Corporation


[1] See Dep’t of Homeland Sec. v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 140 S. Ct. 1891 (2020).