Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks filed sworn statements Wednesday in support of a lawsuit brought by 15 states and the District of Columbia that challenges the Trump administration’s decision to end a program that shields younger undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The suit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York, claims that rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was “a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.”
In written declarations, Amazon and Microsoft, both based in Washington state, emphasized their commitment to diversity and said that dismantling the program would damage their businesses.
“Rescinding the work authorization of DACA recipients will inhibit Washington companies’ ability to adequately staff their organizations, develop their workforces, and recruit talent,” the lawsuit said. “If recruiting efforts are less successful, these companies’ abilities to develop and deliver successful products and services may be adversely affected.”
In its declaration, Amazon said it employs nine people with DACA status but added that the company might employ many more that it does not know of. “If these employees lose their status and are deported, Amazon will suffer injury,” the declaration said. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said Tuesday that the company has 39 employees who have DACA status. (They are often referred to as “dreamers.”) In the company’s declaration, Microsoft described its DACA recipients as an integral part of its business and collective global mission of “empowerment.”
“If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees,” Smith wrote in a company blog post. “If the government seeks to deport any one of them, we will provide and pay for their legal counsel.” Smith said Microsoft will explore whether it can intervene directly in any such deportation case. “In short, if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.”
The lawsuit comes a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the administration was ending DACA, arguing that it was unconstitutional. The action is a reversal of the Justice Department’s position in the Obama administration.
In a news conference Wednesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) described Trump’s move to unwind DACA as “cruel, shortsighted, inhumane and potentially devastating.” DACA has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain temporary work permits and other benefits, and has shielded them from deportation.
Along with the District of Columbia, the states listed as plaintiffs in the suit are: New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.