More than 90 chief executive officers, including those at Apple, Amazon and Facebook, on Thursday urged Congress to pass a law offering a citizenship path to young immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children.
In a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, the executives said thousands of such 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 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 immigrants.
Among those who signed were Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Andy Jassy and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
They were joined by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft President Brad Smith, Verizon Communications CEO Hans Vestberg, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, IBM chief executive Arvind Krishna, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly, Uber Technologies CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Target CEO Brian Cornell, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and others.
Leaders of trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the 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 also is 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 farmworkers.
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 almost certainly will challenge immigration provisions in the budget package, and the Senate parliamentarian ultimately would rule 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 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 farmworkers and Dreamers, a move that creates the prospect of eventual citizenship. Senate talks on a similar bill have dragged on for months.