Tech Companies Urge Congress To Help DREAMers

Oct 3, 2017
Originally published on October 3, 2017 10:56 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

An update now on the DACA debate. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the fate of the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Tech industry insiders say the largest Internet companies have banded together to push a bill through Congress that would give legal status to undocumented young adults brought to the U.S. as children. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: The largest tech companies - Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple - are taking the lead in a business coalition that also includes large retailers, like Target and Walmart. That's according to people familiar with the coalition who say it's working on a dual strategy. For now, the plan is to target the House - where Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated he's more supportive of legislation than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is. But if it seems unlikely in the next few weeks, the next hope, the plan B, is to get some kind of bill slipped into an omnibus package at the end of the year. Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, pressure is mounting for tech leaders to keep on trying. DACA recipient Rocio Lopez has been in and around the tech industry since childhood.

ROCIO LOPEZ: I grew up here in Silicon Valley before the dot-com bubble.

SHAHANI: The 28-year-old, who was born in Mexico, is the daughter of two janitors. Her first time inside a tech startup, she says, was when her dad put her in a trash can he'd use for cleaning and sneak her into work sites, where she'd help him.

LOPEZ: Yes, taking out the trash, parsing trash from recycling.

SHAHANI: She then went on to Columbia University and now works at a data analytics startup called Sumo Logic, where she is a product designer. She hopes the steady stream of tech chiefs speaking out will tip the scales.

LOPEZ: For people like myself and others who are already sort of, like, contributing in many ways to society, what is that path towards a permanent solution going to be?

SHAHANI: The tech-led business coalition, according to two insiders, assumes they cannot just get a bill for DACA recipients, and the cause of undocumented youth would be paired with some kind of border security measure. Aarti Shahani, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.