By: Susan Allen
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it is safe to conclude that the Trump Administration’s announcement ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on September 5, 2017 stunned the American people. Originally established in 2012 by the Obama Administration, DACA was an immigration policy that permitted certain individuals, who entered the United States illegally as minors, the opportunity to receive a renewable two-year period that deferred deportation and allowed them the ability to receive a work permit. By 2017, DACA included an estimated 800,000 “Dreamers” or participants living and working throughout the country. Among the tremendous response regarding the decision has been the reaction of some of the world’s top tech companies.
Tech giants including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and many others have publically released statements announcing their support of the both the policy and the tens of thousands of affected Dreamers working in the United States. Companies in Silicon Valley fear the loss of thousands of employees whose status in the country is now in jeopardy. Research suggests that at least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients. As an industry, Silicon Valley depends on the work of highly-trained engineers, who come from countries outside of the United States. Some experts believe that the industry is already in need of talented workers and fear the worst if deportation begins. In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors of Science and Technology found that the country could have a shortage of almost 1 million technical professionals within the next ten years. Top executives also state that having a diverse workforce allows companies not only to grow and develop further, but also provides a global competitive advantage. Companies fear the devastating effects of having to lay off their DACA employees. Some statistics suggest that companies would have to lay off nearly 7,000 employees every week for the next two years. This workforce turnover is estimated to cost the technology industry approximately $6.3 billion. Additionally, companies would be forced to spend tens of millions of dollars in hiring and training new employees. Aside from these concerns, executives emphasize that the American people will ultimately suffer the greatest because of increased prices on products throughout the industry.
Throughout the United States, the response to ending DACA was almost as diverse as the people who call the country home. One region that demonstrated a shared response was that of Silicon Valley. The region fears the significant consequences that will result should it lose thousands of its workers to deportation. Not only would the companies of the tech industry feel the ill effects of lost employees, but the American people would as well because of the increase in prices throughout the market. If DACA does end and the tech industry finds itself losing thousands of employees, I would expect there to be a tremendous push for the youth of America to pursue careers in engineering and technology to help fill the void that will be created. Until then, Silicon Valley will remain optimistic and continue in the development of some of the world’s most advanced technology.
Student Bio: Originally from Rochester, New York, Susan is a second-year law student at Suffolk University Law School located in Boston, Massachusetts.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are the views of the author alone and do not represent the views of JHTL or Suffolk University Law School.