Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and more than 60 U.S. employers filed a Supreme Court brief earlier this week in support of President Barack Obama’s embattled executive actions on immigration.
In it they urge the justices to support Obama’s actions, aimed at temporarily protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, in a case to be heard by the high court in about a month.
“The business community would benefit from policies that afford undocumented individuals - approximately 11 million in the U.S. - lawful opportunities to contribute to the U.S. economy,” states the brief, spearheaded by fwd.us, a pro-immigration reform advocacy organization founded by Zuckerberg.
"Instead of inviting economic contributions of immigrants, our immigration enforcement policies have often inhibited the productivity of U.S. companies and made it harder for them to compete in the global marketplace," it adds.
On April 18th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the U.S. v. Texas case which will determine whether Obama’s DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) and the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) programs are constitutional and should be allowed to move forward providing deportation relief for approximately 4 million to 5 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
"Instead of inviting economic contributions of immigrants, our immigration enforcement policies have often inhibited the productivity of U.S. companies and made it harder for them to compete in the global marketplace."
- Supreme Court Brief submitted by 63 U.S. Companies
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Obama signed these executive orders on November 20th, 2014. DAPA allows for an estimated 3.6 million undocumented parents with a child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to be granted deferred action –– or temporary deportation protection. Obama also signed an order expanding the current DACA program – which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation – to include 275,000 additional immigrants by eliminating the requirement that applicants be younger than 31 years old.
The Supreme Court standoff in April comes 15 months after then-Texas Attorney General, now Gov. Greg Abbot sued the federal government over Obama’s measures. The lawsuit was supported by other Republican governors and attorney generals in 24 other states including Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Tennessee. The U.S. district court for the Southern District of Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fifth circuit ruled in favor of Abbott, temporarily halting the implementation of the programs.
The brief Tuesday represents a major step by some of the biggest companies and entrepreneurs in tech and other industries to support immigration actions that they believe will the U.S. economy.
“Immigrants are responsible for launching 25 percent of the high tech companies founded in the last decade,” the brief reads.
The 63 businesses lay out several reasons as to why Obama’s executive actions are a “positive step” forward toward fixing America’s broken immigration system arguing that undocumented immigrants can fill positions in fields where the United States faces major skill gaps.
The brief also argues that agriculture, dairy and food service industries are suffering as a result of immigration enforcement policies that are deporting workers who are vital in these industries.
Absent of deportation relief or temporary work visas, like DAPA and DACA, companies are encouraged to hire undocumented immigrants harming all U.S. workers and law-abiding businesses, according to the brief. Companies who hire undocumented immigrants can refuse to pay them minimum wage or fail to comply with safety standards. “These practices drive down wages and create more dangerous working conditions for all U.S. workers. They also expose law-abiding businesses to unfair competition,” the brief argues.
The stress of deportation looming over undocumented immigrants and families is a huge detriment to millions of undocumented immigrant children affecting their “cognitive and behavioral development.”
Obama's executive actions, the brief concludes, "strengthen the American economy by stabilizing the workforce, promoting job creation, reducing deficits, and increasing federal, state and local tax revenues.”