Apple, Amazon, Other Big Tech Advocate Citizenship Path for ‘Dreamers’

Some of the biggest companies in tech have been publicly advocating for Congress to establish a path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” or people who have lived in the U.S. without official authorization since arriving in the country as minors. 

Those tech companies, including IBM, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Microsoft, HP, Amazon, and Salesforce, co-signed a letter earlier in March asking for a permanent legislative solution. “Continued delay or inaction will cause significant negative economic and social impact on businesses and hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country,” that letter added

Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), established by the Obama administration in 2012, “Dreamers” are eligible for work permits in the U.S., along with deferred action from deportation. The Trump administration announced plans to wind down DACA, unleashing a series of lawsuits. In January 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that preserved and strengthened DACA.

Tech companies’ push on DACA is yet another sign that the technology industry is trying its best to sway the Biden administration in particular directions with regard to immigration. During the Trump administration, many of these companies pushed back hard against attempts by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security to restrict the H-1B and H-4 EAD visas, largely via lawsuits in response to new legislation.

The Biden administration is still relatively new, and its ultimate intentions with regard to immigration are somewhat unclear. For example, although a Trump-era ban on H-1B visas is still technically in place, registration for the H-1B visa lottery for fiscal year 2022 is slated to kick off March 9, running through the end of the month. Meanwhile, although Biden seems intent on unwinding many of Trump’s policies, his U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would prioritize visas based on wages—an idea first floated during his predecessor’s tenure. 

Tech companies have praised what they view as Biden’s commitment to immigration reform. “In the weeks and months to come, business leaders look forward to working with the Administration, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to achieve bipartisan, practical and comprehensive solutions to fix our broken immigration system, including a permanent solution for Dreamers that includes a path to citizenship,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a January 2021 statement

Within the tech industry, of course, there’s the view that broad immigration policy—including reforms for Dreamers and H-1B holders—will allow tech companies to remain competitive. “[T]he United States needs to win the international talent competition by improving both STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education and our system for admitting and retaining highly skilled immigrants,” Eric Schmidt, former CEO and chairman of Google, and Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense, wrote in a recent report for the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Tech executives hope that the Biden administration will make those policies a reality.

Meanwhile, immigration critics (particularly those of the H-1B system) argue that broad policies will undermine the position of tech workers who are U.S. citizens. That side could also take hope in some of the Biden administration’s recent moves, including that proposal to elevate wages for H-1B workers, which undermines the business model of consulting firms widely viewed as abusing the visa. But at this juncture, it’s too early to determine what the Biden administration will actually be able to get through Congress.  

8 Responses to “Apple, Amazon, Other Big Tech Advocate Citizenship Path for ‘Dreamers’”

  1. Jake Leone

    The Green Card process and citizenship should be under the control of the worker. The employer should not be a 3rd party that can throw in a veto of this process.

    If a person is here on any H-1b visa, and they want to seek a Green Card, they should be able to do so without a veto being possibly thrown by the employer. An employer should be required to undertake the Green Card process when the employee initiates it. And an employer should be required to utilize every free advertizing source available to them (DICE, SF Chronicle (web is free if doing a print ad)), for the PERM. Employers should be required to accept electronic submission of resumes (if they normally accept Emails for other jobs or business activities). And the number PERM process retries should be limited to a few, followed by a timeout of several years (in order for the worker to learn new skills not already in the U.S. Market place).

    We know, from the indictment of Facebook by the DOJ, that Facebook finds 30x more STEM/IT workers than it can hire. These are workers that Facebook said it would have hired, if they had the jobs that were available. Facebook does do the Green Card PERM process for foreign workers, but Facebook does not forward the resumes of the local STEM/IT people it says it would hire (if it had jobs) to the managers involved in the PERM process. Facebook also refused the Free offer of the San Francisco Chronicle to place the print ad for these PERM jobs, also on the the Chronicle website. Facebook just had to say “yes” to that free offer, instead they said “No’.

    An employer should NOT have control over a foreign workers ability to seek alternative work, and the key for that is to allow the foreign worker to control the Green Card process. Right now, if a worker leaves their current employer (while undergoing the Green Card wait) that worker goes to the back of the line in Green Card wait.

    And I noticed you quoted Eric Schmidt. Eric Schmidt is the guy who fired a female Google recruiter, for successfully attracting and signing an Apple engineer. It isn’t just retaining workers that Eric Schmidt is interested in. What’s been most important to Eric Schmidt is how to completely strip American workers of their rights to leave their employer at anytime. That messed up Green Card process, effectively does this for Eric Schmidt, and that is why there is a huge demand for mundane workers from the H-1b program. Eric Schmidt has never apologized for WRONGLY firing a successful Google recruiter, for doing her job. Eric Schmidt knew what he was doing was illegal (because he asks the other co-conspirators to go verbal only, in a later Email). Yet this guy, who has completely ulterior and EVIL motives has tremendous political influence because he has money. But he has no heart or conscience and that is evidenced by his CALLOUS disregard for rights of Americans, even the workers who did a good job under him are nothing but things to be thrown under the bus.

  2. I think Biden Admin intentions are very clear, they may not be his since he is so far gone mentally, but for the writer of the article to say the Admin is new and the intentions of immigration are not clear is pure lunacy.