Google backs Biden immigration efforts, covers fees in threatened ‘Dreamer’ program

Business

Alphabet Inc’s Google said it would support President-elect Joe Biden’s efforts to pass a new U.S. immigration law and would help cover application fees for immigrants seeking lawful work under a threatened government program.

Google said on Wednesday its philanthropic arm would pay for the application fees of about 500 young immigrants seeking employment under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

It comes as Google and other big U.S. employers transition from four years of criticizing outgoing President Donald Trump for restricting immigration policy and undermining the companies’ ability to hire foreign-born workers.

Biden said last week that he would propose unspecified immigration legislation to Congress “immediately” upon taking office on Jan. 20. Biden’s Democratic Party will control Congress, boosting the chance his ideas become law.

“We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices,” Google senior vice president Kent Walker said in a blog post.

Walker added Google.org would donate $250,000 to the organization United We Dream, which helps immigrants unlawfully living in the United States after arriving as children secure work permits and avoid deportation using DACA.

A court ruling expected soon threatens to pause renewals and applications for those permits, Walker said. Recipients are often called “Dreamers.”

Several other big technology companies in statements this week echoed support for immigration changes.

Uber Technologies Inc said it welcomed “the new Administration’s effort to reform our nation’s immigration system,” and Salesforce.com Inc said it would continue to advocate on behalf of “Dreamers.”

Brian Huseman, Amazon.com Inc’s vice president of public policy, said the company looked forward to working with Biden’s team to “advance commonsense solutions” on immigration.