- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a vocal advocate for US immigration reform for years and on Wednesday he weighed in urging Congress to pass legislation to protect DACA Dreamers.
- Zuckerberg has been personally calling members of Congress.
- He said he’s ‘optimistic’ but feels this DACA legislation is testing “if our government works.”
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has also weighed in saying, “The United States is not a cruel country. But what we’re considering doing to Dreamers is cruel.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been working the phones, calling members of Congress and urging them to pass a law that protects DACA “Dreamers,” the 800,000 immigrants brought to the US illegally as children who were granted work visas under an Obama-era program.
That program allowed them to get jobs, pay their taxes, enter the military, and generally come out of the shadows.
President Trump ended the program. It no longer allows new DACA registrations or existing DACA recipients to renew their status (which they must do every two years). Trump told Congress to pass a law by March 5 that would a be permanent fix or the Dreamers would be subject to exportation.
However, in practical terms, the deadline for fixing DACA has now become January 19, which is the deadline for passing a budget to keep the government funded and avoiding the shutdown.
Although Congress drafted a bipartisan bill that had something in it for both sides – a DACA fix for Democrats and border security funding that could be applied to building a wall on Southern border for Republicans – during a meeting with the President on the bill members of Congress on each side began posturing to their own bases, threatening to scuttle the entire bill.
During the meeting, Trump also reportedly made a profanity-laced comment about immigrants from certain countries that derailed the conversation and increased tensions on both sides.
Congress has a bill in the works that could pass if all sides opt to work together instead of digging in and opposing each other.
In his post urging everyone to call their Congressmen, Zuckerberg explained, “This is a basic question of whether our government works. Can Congress come together and find a path forward, or will we default to forcing almost one million people out of their jobs and country? I’m optimistic this will get solved.”
Zuckerberg also said that he’s been having direct conversations with members of Congress and believes “they want to fix this but we need to keep the pressure on so they know we’ll hold them accountable.”
Zuckerberg has been advocating for comprehensive immigration reform since 2013 when he founded an organisation called FWD.us. Zuckerberg, like many CEOs in the tech industry, wants to make it easier to hire immigrants who attend college in the US, to hire from a global workforce and to support entrepreneurs who want to come to the US to create companies and jobs.
Meanwhile, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also weighed in on the DACA issue on Wednesday, pointing out the stakes for people raised in the US since they were children without proper immigration status. “The average DACA recipient came to this country at age six and has lived here for 20 years,” she wrote. “The United States is not a cruel country. But what we’re considering doing to Dreamers is cruel.”
She, too, is urging everyone to call their Congressman and tell them to act on this.
Facebook is not alone. IBM has been on this issue like glue since Trump first ended the DACA program, bringing Dreamers employed by IBM to DC to speak with lawmakers.
Last week, over 100 business leaders, most of them tech CEOs, signed a letter urging Congress to protect Dreamers. Business leaders have been publicly urging Congress for a fix that protects Dreamers for months, as well, since Trump ended the program.
Here’s Zuckerberg’s full post.
Dreamers are members of our communities, and there are 800,000 living in fear with no ability to plan for the future. Teachers with DACA don’t know if they will be allowed to teach in a few months — but somehow we expect them to take care of our children. First responders with DACA don’t know if they will get to stay here — yet they worked around the clock to save lives after the hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
This is a basic question of whether our government works. Can Congress come together and find a path forward, or will we default to forcing almost one million people out of their jobs and country?
I’m optimistic this will get solved. There’s been some good bipartisan momentum on legislation recently. From my conversations with leaders in Congress, I believe they want to fix this, but we need to keep the pressure on so they know we’ll hold them accountable. I’ve been calling members of Congress and you can help by calling your Congressman or Congresswoman too right now.
To learn more and get connected today, go to http://dreamers.fwd.us.
Here’s Sandberg’s full post.
Immigrants helped build this country – and continue to build it every day. They lend their hands, heads, and hearts to make us stronger. That includes Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought here as children. They are Americans in every sense of the word, except on paper.
The average DACA recipient came to this country at age six and has lived here for 20 years. They have gone to American elementary and high schools. They work and live in every state. Some serve in our military. And now they face the very real possibility of being sent away from the country they call home.
The United States is not a cruel country. But what we’re considering doing to Dreamers is cruel. They deserve the chance to earn citizenship and legal protection to keep them safe and keep their families together. And they deserve it now.
I stand with them and urge Congress to pass legislation before the January 19 funding deadline. Learn more about how you can help#ProtectDreamers here: http://Dreamers.FWD.us