In September Microsoft said that they would exercise their legal rights to help protect their employees who are Dreamers (ie. came to USA illegally as minors) escape deportation after the government’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Now Microsoft has put their threat into action and with Princeton University and one of its students who is a Dreamer has mounted a legal challenge in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleging that DACA’s termination violated both the United States Constitution and federal law.
The complaint alleges that the termination of DACA severely harms Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, and other DACA-enrolled young people (known as “Dreamers”), and “the employers and educational institutions that rely on and benefit from their contributions.”
The complaint says that Princeton “will suffer the loss of critical members of its community” if DACA’s rescission is left to stand. Princeton’s DACA students “are among the most accomplished and respected students studying at the University” — they “study in a diverse array of fields,” “serve as mentors and peer advisors, class representatives in student government, and as community organizers and campus leaders,” and “have earned numerous academic honors, awards, and fellowships.” The presence of the Dreamers on campus “helps fulfil Princeton’s educational mission,” in which “diversity and inclusion” play a central role.
Microsoft and LinkedIn employ at least 45 DACA recipients who “serve in critical roles,” including as software engineers, financial analysts, inventory control experts, and in core technical and operations positions and other specialized functions and internships. The company has made significant investments in “recruiting, retaining and developing” employees “who are Dreamers,” and it has “significant interests in retaining the Dreamers it employs, and in reaping the benefits of their talent over time. It has conducted its business operations on the understanding that these individuals would continue to be eligible to work at the company.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that the government’s actions violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, including its guarantee of equal protection under the law, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint asks for a declaration that the DACA program is lawful and constitutional, and for an injunction that both stops the administration from terminating DACA and prevents the government from using the information provided by Dreamers against them or for purposes of immigration enforcement.
Microsoft has been a proponent for a lasting solution to protect DACA beneficiaries, joining others in urging Congress to quickly pass bipartisan legislation. On November 1, Microsoft and over 100 companies, including Facebook, Chobani, Levi Strauss & Co., IBM Corporation, Verizon Communications and others, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. District Court at San Francisco in five cases challenging the termination of DACA.
“The 45 Dreamers employed by Microsoft today are making countless contributions in our company and community,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith. “They have grown up in the United States, attended our schools, paid taxes, bought houses and started families. They also completed the government’s rigorous DACA application process before they could obtain work authorization to join our company. It’s critical that we don’t lose their tremendous talents.”