Amazon is using its position as an employer of American immigrants to support legal action by 15 states aiming to block the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind a policy protecting young people from deportation.
The states, including New York, California, Illinois and Virginia, told a federal New York court that President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a piece of President Obama-era legislation that gave undocumented immigrants brought to America as children a chance to work, attend school and pay taxes without threat of deportation, is illegal and should be blocked.
Recipients of DACA protections are not only employed by various companies, including a wide range of retail and technology fields, but they pay taxes and participate in health insurance programs, which reduce states’ expenditures, the states argued.
They also pointed out that 78 percent of DACA recipients were born in Mexico and argued that Trump’s decision to end DACA “is a culmination of President Trump’s oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.”
Amazon didn’t take things as far in its declaration, but it did put its support squarely behind the lawsuit, saying it’s an employer of “at least nine” DACA recipients, and if they “lose their status and are deported, Amazon will suffer injury.”
“Amazon has always been committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity — and we always will be,” Ayesha Blackwell-Hawkins, Amazon’s senior manager of immigration strategy, said. “As we’ve grown the company, we’ve worked hard to attract talented people from all over the world and we believe this is one of the things that makes Amazon great — a diverse workforce with diverse backgrounds, ideas and points of view helps us build better products and services for our customers.”
Fashion industry leaders roundly condemned a rollback of DACA, and Steven Kolb, president and ceo of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said it “not only hurts the lives of 800,000 impressive young people, but impedes our industry from creating even more U.S. jobs.”
Amazon, along with many other retail and tech companies, also supported litigation to partially block Trump’s January executive order banning immigration and travelers from certain, predominantly Muslim, countries. While that order was eventually allowed partial enactment by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Trump Administration is likely looking at similar legal hurdles in ending DACA.
Neither Trump nor Sessions detailed the purpose of DACA or what the program offers to participants or the country in their separate Tuesday explanations for the rollback. Instead, they both referred to the program as “executive amnesty” deployed by Obama through an executive order after he failed to get Congressional approval.
Since taking office in January, Trump has signed 45 executive orders on issues that didn’t have congressional support. During his presidential tenure, Obama averaged 35 executive orders per year.
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