This week, President Trump made the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA. This program--which originated under President Obama--was established to shield undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as children. Under DACA guidelines, any child of an undocumented immigrant who was under the age of 31 as of June 2012 was protected from deportation under this policy.
Unless Congress steps in with a change to current immigration policy, immigrants who received prior protection under DACA could be subject to deportation. According to census data, just over 740,000 immigrants have received protection under DACA. And while the US labor market is massive in comparison--150 million total--there are several industries whose labor force could be severely impacted by President Trump's action, among them healthcare, construction and education; these sectors are particularly vulnerable due to the high percentage of immigrant labor that comprises these workforces.
According to a report by FWD.us, a pro-immigration organization founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 91 percent of DACA recipients are employed. Canceling the program, according to their analysis, could result in a reduction in the labor force of 30,000 a month as their DACA status expires.
Congress has been trying for over 15 years to find a legislative solution to the immigration status of undocumented children brought to the United States by their parents. In 2001, a bipartisan effort in the Senate to pass the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act--more commonly known as the DREAM Act--failed.
Subsequent attempts to pass similar legislation have failed, as well. In 2012, President Obama created DACA as a temporary fix for this issue. President Trump repealed this policy on September 5, 2017.
CEOs across the industry spectrum weighed in on the repeal of DACA:
- "It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it," Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook Inc.
- "Immigration is a complex issue but I wouldn't deport a kid who was brought here and only knows America." Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman Sachs Group
- "250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values." Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
- "Rescinding DACA is cruel and misguided. Dreamers contribute to our economy and our nation. Congress must act fast to protect them!" Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Co.
- "Dreamers are our neighbors, our friends and our co-workers. This is their home. Congress needs to act now." Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc.'s Google.
- "America is and always has been a country of immigrants. We should do everything in our power to continue to attract the best and brightest because they make us stronger as a people and as an economy. And, when people come here to learn, work hard and give back to their communities, we should allow them to stay in the United States." Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase
- "It's against our values to turn our backs on #DREAMers." Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies Inc.
How does Trump's repeal of DACA potentially impact your business? Consider taking the following actions:
- Talk to your team. Your team wants to know where you stand on this issue. Given the political sensitivity surrounding this national conversation, it's important to state your position based on its impact to your business and the customers whom you serve--not your own personal political beliefs.
- Evaluate the impact. If you're in a service-based business that relies on immigrant labor (home health, industrial labor, hospitality, restaurant) then you've probably been preparing for this contingency for a while. Now that DACA repeal is a reality, it's time to consider putting your backup plan into motion. If you're in an industry whose labor force is likely impacted by this decision, you can't afford the uncertainty.
- Be ready to respond to your customers. It's not just your team members who want to know where you stand; your customers will also ask questions. Prepare official statements and talk tracks that your front-line staff can use if asked by customers where your organization stands on this issue.