Warby Parker is putting its support behind a multistate lawsuit aiming to block the Trump Administration’s recent decision to cancel a policy protecting young immigrants from deportation.
The popular eyewear company filed a declaration in support of the lawsuit, led by 15 states including New York, California, Illinois and Virginia, noting that it knows of at least one employee who is a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a piece of President Obama-era legislation giving undocumented immigrants brought to America as children a chance to work, attend school and pay taxes without threat of deportation.
President Donald Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in early September that the program would be brought to an end, leaving DACA recipients to lose their legal residency by March. They both referred to the program as “executive amnesty” and the decision was roundly criticized by leaders of fashion and tech companies.
Warby Parker said in its declaration that the company often deals with young immigrants in a charitable capacity, namely through its “buy one give one” operation which donates a pair of glasses for every pair sold. It also specifically donates glasses to public school children in New York through its Pupils Project program. Warby Parker said almost half of the children who will receive glasses through the program this year “come from families who have recently arrived in the United States.”
“We believe it is also likely that Warby Parker has sold prescription eyewear to DACA grantees across the United States, and we do so proudly,” the declaration says.
The company added that it’s likely to employ more than one DACA grantee currently and in the future, but noted its corporate policy of not inquiring after anyone’s DACA status.
Warby Parker also pointed out in its declaration that cofounder and coceo Dave Gilboa, who was born in Sweden, emigrated to the U.S. as a child.
“We firmly believe that protecting the future of young, undocumented immigrants is vital to our country’s economy,” Warby Parker said in the declaration. “Dreamers represent the best of American society — for instance, many have started their own businesses and give back to their communities — and their continued contributions to this country are critical to a thriving economy.”
In a joint letter urging the Trump Administration to keep the program signed by dozens of fashion and tech leaders and hundreds of other corporate heads, DACA recipients were said to total 780,000 people between the ages of 15 and 36 who collectively contribute $460.3 billion to the national gross domestic product and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare through income taxes.
Amazon has also put its support squarely behind the state’s’ effort to block Trump’s DACA decision, saying it employs at least nine DACA recipients and that employing “talented people from all over the world…is one of the things that makes Amazon great.”
Both Warby Parker and Amazon are among the two dozen companies now pushing leading lawmakers to pass the Dream Act, or something similar, in order to give young immigrants a “permanent legislative solution” for seeking citizenship.
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