Cook, Pichai join CEOs urging Congress pass path to citizenship

More than 90 chief executive officers, including those at Apple, and Facebook, on Thursday urged Congress to pass a law offering a citizenship path to young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

In a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, the executives said thousands of the immigrants -- known as Dreamers -- are "valued employees at our companies," but a federal judge's recent ruling against a program protecting them "throws into chaos" their ability to live and work legally in the U.S.

"Securing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers not only is the right thing to do, but is a huge economic benefit to the United States," the CEOs wrote in the letter. "The latest court ruling makes it all the more urgent that Congress take up and pass a legislative solution right away."

The letter seeks to increase pressure on Republicans in Congress who are likely to oppose Democrats' efforts to pass the measure allowing for legal status for as many as 8 million undocumented immigrants.

Among those who signed were Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Andy Jassy, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

They were joined by Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith, Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Hans Vestberg, General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra, International Business Machines Corp. CEO Arvind Krishna, Visa Inc. CEO Alfred Kelly, Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell, Inc. CEO Marc Benioff and others.

Leaders of trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and National Association of Manufacturers also signed.

The letter was organized by the Coalition for the American Dream, a group of companies and interest groups that support more welcoming U.S. immigration laws. It is also appearing in a full-page print ad in the New York Times.

Democrats in Congress are pushing to include the provision on Dreamers in a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which has no Republican support. Democratic lawmakers and immigrant-rights groups have urged the bill's authors to include Dreamers, as well as those with temporary protected status and farm workers.

Yet any immigration language must meet a Senate rule that says any part of a budget resolution must have an effect on government spending or revenue. Republicans will almost certainly challenge immigration provisions in the budget package, and the Senate parliamentarian would ultimately issue a ruling if they could remain.

The letter did not demand the language be passed in the budget resolution, but the business leaders said they supported bills like the Dream and Promise Act or DREAM Act that have received bipartisan support in the past.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas ruled earlier this month that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allows hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, was implemented unconstitutionally. The ruling allowed those with DACA status to keep or renew it, but barred new applications from being processed.

Biden has proposed a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people living illegally in the U.S., but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year opted for a pared-back approach to attract support from moderate Democrats.

The House in March passed two bills that provide legal status for migrant farm workers and for Dreamers, a move that creates the prospect of eventual citizenship. Senate talks on a similar bill have dragged on for months.