Apple CEO Tim Cook Voices Support for Company's 400 DACA Employees

Apple is for Dreamers. The tech giant took a stand against the Trump administration and in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, commonly known as Dreamers, by issuing a “friend-of-the-court” filing in cases pending at the US Supreme Court.

In its unprecedented statement, Apple and CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children have made a significant contribution to the company. Apple employs 443 Dreamers from 25 countries across 36 states.

DACA recipients at Apple work in a variety of roles, including hardware development, software engineers, support and operations specialists, technicians, and retail store geniuses.

“We did not hire them out of kindness or charity,” Apple said in a court filing cited by CNN Business. “We did it because Dreamers embody Apple’s innovation strategy. They come from diverse backgrounds and display a wide range of skills and experiences that equip them to tackle problems from different perspectives.”

The Obama-era program temporarily protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation and grants them work permits. DACA was approved in 2012 after Congress failed to pass legislation that would shield undocumented children brought into the United States from being deported.

In 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to rescind DACA. However, the decision to cancel DACA is facing legal challenges and will be taken up by the Supreme Court.

In their amicus curiae brief, Cook and senior vice president of retail Deirdre O’Brien wrote they were “distressed at the prospect of ripping our DACA colleagues from the fabric of our company.”

Apple has previously filed briefs before the court in support of Dreamers, but this is the first time Cook and O’Brien have attached their names, NBC News noted.

In the brief, Apple told stories about the lives and work of five Dreamers working for the company. The stories were all told anonymously because the Dreamers “fear retribution.”

One Dreamer working for Apple was identified as D.O. and was brought by his mother to the US from Mexico as an 8-year-old boy. “I think the adversity I faced led me to develop a really strong work ethic that allowed me to succeed,” D.O. said. “I attended a college program where you could graduate with your bachelor’s in three years instead of four — but that meant no breaks, no summers off.”

The two executives argued that Dreamers were brought to the United States “typically through no choice of their own” and that they were promised safety from deportation and the ability to work in exchange for handing the federal government intimate information about themselves.

“They fulfilled their end of the bargain. They have done everything right. In their patriotism, dedication to their families and communities, and commitment to making their country a better place, they are as American as any of us,” the brief said.

“Our country made a deal with a highly vulnerable population interested in a bright future, and we should keep that deal.”

The brief added the United States has enjoyed “unparalleled success by welcoming people from around the world who seek to make a better life for themselves and their families, no matter their backgrounds.” It continued: “As a group, they tend to display levels of determination and resolve that would be the pride of any business. We could tell you 443 stories to illustrate these attributes.”

This is not the first time Apple has publicly expressed support for Dreamers and DACA. In January 2018, when the Trump administration moved to rescind DACA, Apple joined more than 100 other companies in co-signing a letter that urged Congress to save the program, CNN Business reported.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments about the legality of Trump’s decision in November. Early in September, Trump claimed that if the Supreme Court ruled in his favor to eliminate DACA, then Congress would step up to pass legislation protecting Dreamers.

However, Vox noted that despite substantial bipartisan support for Dreamers, Congress is unlikely to pass a measure protecting DACA recipients. In June, Democrats in the House passed a bill to protect DACA recipients, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not bring the bill to a vote.


About the Author

Nicole Rojasis a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and theLong Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.