Last week and over the weekend, American business leaders, including Mr. Zalesne, stepped into the political fray and urged Mr. Trump to extend DACA. More than 400 of them signed a letter to the president and congressional leaders, warning that such immigrants — brought to the United States as children and known as “Dreamers” — are vital to the economy.
Some of the most vocal supporters of DACA are in the tech industry. On Saturday, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, updated the profile picture on his Facebook page to say, “I Support DACA.” The chief executive of Apple, Timothy D. Cook, proclaimed on Twitter that “250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them.”
But executives at big companies outside of the tech sector spoke up, too. The chairman and chief executive of Best Buy, Hubert Joly, wrote on the company’s blog on Friday, “There are hundreds of thousands of young men and women whose futures are at stake.”
Other signers of the letter to Mr. Trump, titled an “Open Letter From Leaders of American Industry,” included executives from Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, Marriott and Wells Fargo and the investor Warren E. Buffett. The letter campaign was organized by the group Fwd.us, which urges changes in immigration law and was founded by tech leaders including Mr. Zuckerberg.
The campaign to save DACA is the latest extension of the business world’s willingness to weigh in on a divisive issue. Last month, executives at some of the nation’s largest companies criticized Mr. Trump’s initial response to the role of white supremacists in the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
On DACA, the executives are taking a pragmatic approach. While many immigration advocates have focused on humanitarian issues, the executives focused on the economic toll.
According the letter from the executives, 65 percent of Dreamers have bought a car and 16 percent have purchased their own home. This economic activity, they argue, would be eliminated if the Dreamers were deported.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimates that five years after a repeal of DACA, the nation’s gross domestic product would be $105 billion less than it would be if the program stays in place.
“The Dreamers are on track to be a highly educated group, and losing them will be a significant blow to businesses already struggling to find educated and skilled young workers,” Mr. Zandi wrote in an email on Monday.
Mr. Zalesne said he was not sure how many, if any, of the 295 workers at his company’s facilities, which fabricate steel for projects like the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, are protected by DACA.
He decided to take a stand, he said, not only because of the economic implications, but also because he could not ignore the human toll that deportation would take on people who have been working and going to school legally and have mostly known only one country — the United States.
“They have been trying to do the right thing,” he said.
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