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Rescinding DACA hurts employers too, Microsoft suit alleges

Asserting that employers also stand to lose if Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients lose their legal immigration status, Microsoft Corp. has filed suit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program, stripping some 800,000 “Dreamers” of their protected status. Microsoft filed its suit along with Princeton University, which contends that it will suffer harm as an educational institution with DACA recipient enrollees. The plaintiffs allege that the Department of Homeland Security, by rescinding the DACA program and by breaking its assurances that the DACA applicants’ information would not be shared with ICE for immigration enforcement purposes, have violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Fifth Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses.

“Microsoft has invested significant resources in Dreamers, who serve in critical roles at the company,” according to the complaint filed November 3. Microsoft (combined with subsidiary LinkedIn) employ at least 45 DACA recipients as software engineers, financial analysts, inventory control experts, and in core technical and operations positions and other specialized functions and internships.

“[B]y allowing Dreamers to work lawfully, DACA moved these individuals out of the informal economy, increasing the pool of talent from which Microsoft could fill supply gaps in the U.S. job market.” Microsoft has spent considerable resources recruiting and developing these employees, amidst a severe shortage of skilled workers, and with the expectation that they would continue to be contributing members of its workforce, the suit contends. “As these gaps continue to widen, DACA recipients play a critical role in filling positions for which there are not enough U.S.-born applicants. DACA recipients also often possess skills—including foreign language skills—that businesses like Microsoft need,” the company said. If the company’s DACA beneficiary employees lose their protected status, Microsoft will lose them and will find itself unable to replace these workers, who hold critical positions in the company.

Microsoft also cited a diversity interest in hiring DACA recipients, noting the company “benefits greatly from a workforce that reflects the diversity of the United States—and the world.”

Citing ongoing and specific harm as a consequence of the Trump administration’s decision to revoke the DACA program, and asserting that these harms “fall within the zone of interests encompassed by the broad scope of the Immigration and Naturalization Act,” Microsoft and Princeton are seeking declaratory relief that the DACA program is lawful and constitutional and its rescission unlawful and unconstitutional, as well as injunctive relief barring the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing and implementing the rescission.