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Microsoft Backs 'Dreamers'

Few businesses leaders have been more outspoken than Microsoft President Brad Smith, backed by his boss CEO Satya Nadella, himself an immigrant, about Trump's move to end DACA.

Business leaders across industries have taken the fight against President Donald Trump's move last month to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), but few have been more outspoken than Microsoft President Brad Smith, backed by his boss CEO Satya Nadella, himself an immigrant.

Trump's decision to punt DACA to Congress immediately made it a bargaining chip, entangled with issues ranging from tax reform to building the wall along the entire Mexican border that the president has championed. Meanwhile, the fates of 800,000 "Dreamers," undocumented workers who were brought into the United States at a young age by their parents, were thrust up in the air. While they have lived their entire lives in the United States, they face the prospect of deportation early next year, short of Congress and the president reaching an agreement.

CEOs of many leading tech companies who employ "Dreamers" have firmly spoken out, among them Apple's Tim Cook, Google's Sundar Pichai and Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Microsoft's Smith, however, took a firm public stand on the issue, promising a fight, short of the "Dreamers" being granted amnesty.

Microsoft employs 27 who are protected by DACA in various areas that include engineering, finance, sales and retail. "They are not only our colleagues, but our friends, our neighbors and valued members of the Microsoft community," Smith said in his Aug. 31 post.

Smith, who is also Microsoft's chief legal officer, has historically taken a strong stand on critical issues that impact employees and customer interests. Any move to deport a Microsoft employee is "going to have to go through us to get that person," Smith told NPR on Sept. 5. Resolving this supersedes tax reform, he said in that interview. That speaks volumes, considering the impact tax reform will have on Microsoft's bottom line.

Note: The online version of the print magazine's column clarifies the definition of Dreamers.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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