President Donald Trump often boasts about how well he speaks the language of business.
So hopefully he’s paying attention tomorrow, when a public letter, signed by more than 100 chief executives from some of America’s most impactful businesses, urges politicians to pass legislation before Jan. 19 that allows Dreamers to continue their lives in the U.S. unimpeded.
“Dreamers” refers to a group of roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. Until Trump abruptly ended it last year, a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, allowed Dreamers to apply for work permits and avoid deportation.
The letter was sent to congressional leaders on Wednesday, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It is set to publish in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as a full-page ad on Thursday.
Signatories span a large spectrum of industry, from tech to consumer goods to venture capital. Among them are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, James “Jim” Dinkins of Coca Cola and Tim Cook of Apple.
“The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country,” the letter reads. “Failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the workforce and will result in significant costs.”
And when they say “significant costs,” they mean it. Not only would failing to extend DACA cause untold human suffering, they note, it could cost the U.S. economy $215 billion in lost GDP.
Should the Jan. 19 window pass without action, it’s unlikely a new policy could be enacted by March 5, the date Trump set as a congressional deadline when he ended DACA in September of last year.
Read the letter in full below: