Economy

Microsoft says it will pay legal fees to fight Dreamer employee deportation

In terms of generating goodwill with employees and customers, Microsoft risked little in voicing support for DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the USA as children and put on a path to citizenship under an Obama-era policy now threatened by the Trump administration. Although we should all ask Congress to act within six months, we should be prepared for the possibility that it will not do so.

In another, earlier tweet, Trump said, "Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!" But his FWD.us organization, which has advocated for immigration reform, was behind an open letter last week signed by leaders of almost 400 companies urging Congress to pass legislation to provide a permanent fix for the young undocumented immigrants. "And yet it is very clear today a tax reform bill needs to be set aside until the Dreamers are taken care of", Smith told NPR. The administration, however, says that DACA is unconstitutional, and it is looking to Congress to create a solution to addresses the status of DACA workers, as well as broader immigration reforms. "Tax reform can wait".

Microsoft president Brad Smith declared on Tuesday that any federal government attempt to deport one of its "Dreamer" employees would "have to go through us to get that person".

Microsoft's Smith said Congress should pass legislation that protects DACA, even before it tackles tax reform.

Writing on his company blog, Smith said that the issue is so important that Congress should write new legislation before turning to other pressing matters: "We believe ... that Congress now needs to reprioritize the fall legislative calendar and move quickly with new legislation to protect these 800,000 Dreamers".

Starbucks said the company has reimbursed at least 84 employees for biennial fees related to DACA applications, but the number of Dreamers in its employ "is likely substantially more".

"Melinda and I have been incredibly impressed by the Dreamers we have come across in our work with Microsoft, the foundation, and other programs we have supported over the years". But apart from signing letters and defending individual employees, what can businesses do?

In the wake of Tuesday's announcement, lawmakers said they planned to again review the DREAM Act.



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