More than 100 corporate leaders called on Congress on Wednesday to act immediately to provide legal relief for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.
Letters co-signed by athletes, business leaders, entertainers and other notable people are common on Capitol Hill, but the latest message comes a day after President Trump hosted Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the White House and pressed them to enact legislation providing legal protections for nearly 700,000 immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, an Obama-era executive action beginning to expire.
“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.” (Read the full letter below.)
Pressure from top business leaders could pay dividends in the closing days of the high-stakes negotiations that party leaders believe could lead to an agreement soon.
The letter is co-signed by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of Facebook; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com and owner of The Washington Post; Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors; Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T; and media mogul Barry Diller. The leaders of other big-name brands, including the Gap, Target, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Warby Parker, Uber and Lyft also signed the letter.
The letter was organized by the Coalition for the American Dream, a nonpartisan business group pushing for legislation to settle the legal fate of “dreamers.” FWD.us, a group backing a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws and founded in part by Zuckerberg, also signed the letter, according to people familiar with project.
In a joint news conference Wednesday at the White House with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Trump was asked whether he would support a DACA bill that did not include money for the border wall he has proposed.
“No, no, no,” he replied. “It’s got to include the wall. We need the wall for security. We need the wall for safety. We need the wall to stop the drugs from pouring in. I would imagine the people in the room, both Democrat and Republican — I really believe they are going to come up with a solution to the DACA problem that’s been going on for a long time, and maybe beyond that immigration as a whole.”
During the bipartisan meeting Tuesday, Trump expressed support for a plan to protect dreamers.
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who attended the meeting, recalled that Trump asked lawmakers in the room, “Is there anybody here not for taking care of the DACA recipients?”
“Not one of them said they were against that,” Hoyer said at his weekly news conference Wednesday. “Everyone agreed yes, we need to take care of DACA-protected individuals, we need to take care of them now.”
Here’s the text of the full letter: