For the tech world, innovation is more than just a buzzword. It’s a key part of how the industry survives.
With that in mind, DC nonprofit Engine is launching a petition for tech organizations to push policymakers to defend DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The federal immigration policy allows individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children to defer legal action for two years and receive a work permit.
This petition comes in the wake of a Texas judge’s July decision to deem the program illegal, preventing new applicants. At the moment, current recipients are unaffected, but for potential future Dreamers, it leaves an uncertain future.
“We form the fabric of the innovation ecosystem across the country, some of us immigrants ourselves, and we urge U.S. policymakers to swiftly enact a permanent solution for Dreamers,” the petition reads. “Without Dreamers—many of whom represent STEM talent on which startups rely or are founders themselves—the U.S. risks the dynamism and diversity central to our position as a leader in innovation.”
Engine Policy Manager Jennifer Weinhart told Technical.ly that this is an important space for the tech industry to watch, especially considering that many rely on Dreamers to build out their talent pool. Plus, according to the letter, a repeal of the policy would lead to a $460 billion loss in GDP over the next decade.
“At a time when other countries are making significant efforts to attract innovators and the next big startup away from the U.S., we need to be doing everything we can, like providing permanent status for Dreamers (many of whom know only the U.S. as home), to welcome and keep talent here,” Weinhart said. “Making it harder for Dreamers and other skilled immigrants to live and work in the U.S. only serves to benefit the innovation ecosystems of other countries in competition with the U.S.”
In addition to signing the letter, Weinhart added she’d like to see tech companies informing policymakers about how essential Dreamers are to their mission and growth. According to Weinhart, it’s important for leaders to see the direct contributions of this group.
Plus, Engine said, finding a solution for Dreamers could have implications beyond hiring.
“Creating a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s what our tech and startup ecosystem—and economy—need to thrive and stay globally competitive,” said Kate Tummarello, executive director of Engine.-30-