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Apple has joined a coalition of more than 100 companies in applying pressure to the US Congress to pass immigration legislation that protects "Dreamers," a group of more than 700,000 immigrants working and living in the country legally that are under threat of deportation under the Trump administration.
Alongside Apple, major companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have called for Congress to reform immigration laws in the United States, urging lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation. The move, which includes a letter signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company leaders, demands the creation of a law to protect Dreamers from being deported.
"With the re-opening of the federal government and the presumptive restart of immigration and border security negotiations, now is the time for Congress to pass a law to provide Dreamers the certainty they need," the letter states according to CNBC. "These are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and they should not have to wait for court cases to be decided to determine their fate when Congress can act now."
"We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of Americans of all political backgrounds agree that we should protect Dreamers from deportation," the letter continues. "American employers and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are counting on you to pass bipartisan, permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay."
'Dreamers' are the term given to individuals who were provided Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections, which allowed children of immigrants brought to America illegally to be safeguarded against deportation. President Donald Trump has campaigned to curb illegal immigration, a position that has led to Dreamers facing the prospect of being deported.
"We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of Americans of all political backgrounds agree that we should protect Dreamers from deportation, the letter notes. "American employers and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are counting on you to pass bipartisan, permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay."
The letter to Congress estimates the loss of all DACA-protected workers would effectively cost the US economy in the region of $350 billion in GDP, while simultaneously losing the government approximately $90 billion in tax revenue.
The renewed call to protect Dreamers arrives at the tail-end of a temporary spending bill that funded the government for a month following a 35-day shutdown.
The main hurdle on an agreement being put in place to continue government spending is a demand by President Donald Trump to allocate $5.7 billion for a border wall, one of his main campaign promises. In exchange, Trump has proposed limited legal protections for "Dreamers," but Democrat members of Congress rejected it as an "inadequate" temporary solution.
Cook is an outspoken opponent of attempts to weaken protections for "Dreamers," putting his name alongside other CEOs in attempts to influence the government over the matter. Cook also wrote to employees in 2017 over how the Trump administration's plans to end DACA would affect the company and its staff, advising Apple would continue working with Congress to create "permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country."
During one televised interview in March 2018, Cook admitted he was "completely offended" by the proposals, calling it a moral issue that "goes to the core of who we are as Americans."