More than 100 business leaders signed a letter sent to congressional leaders on Wednesday, requesting they approve legislation that would protect “Dreamers,” those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which protects those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children from facing deportation if they meet certain qualifications.
“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 states. “The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country.”
NEW: 115 business leaders send letter to Congressional leaders urging lawmakers to pass legislation to protect Dreamers before January 19th. https://t.co/S4lqfq7kgF pic.twitter.com/iYXFwBWfqS— ABC News (@ABC) January 10, 2018
The letter was signed by 115 business leaders, including Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell.
Democrats are trying to include an immigration deal that would protect those covered by DACA within the government spending bill, which expires on Jan. 19. The letter urged Congress to pass legislation ahead of Jan. 19 to allow for at least a 45-day window for implementation before the program expires.
DACA, which impacts 800,000 people, had been set to expire March 5 if Congress could not agree on a solution after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September the Trump administration was rescinding the Obama-era program. A federal judge in California late Tuesday blocked the government from winding down the the program while relevant lawsuits make their way through the legal system.
“We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of the American public of all political backgrounds agrees that we should protect Dreamers from deportation,” the letter states. “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 a permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay.”
President Trump is working alongside congressional leaders to reach a potential solution to address the program’s protections, but has indicated he would only back it if it includes money for a southwest border wall.
“It’s got to include the wall,” the president told reporters on Wednesday. “We need the wall for security. We need the wall for safety. We need the wall for stopping the drugs from pouring in.”