DACA was supposed to expire March 5, but a court injunction is allowing the program to continue until pending litigation is resolved. That has left businesses and workers in legal limbo as they scramble to figure out their next steps.
Some of America’s biggest companies – including Microsoft, Facebook and Google – have urged Washington to find a solution for the roughly 700,000 affected immigrants, many of whom work in the tech sector. Ovation Corporate Travel CEO Paul Metselaar recently posted an impassioned plea on LinkedIn urging businesses to remain vocal.
“I think that the business community needs to step up and lead because this is something that affects our welfare. It affects our bottom line, and it affects the future of our entire country,” he told CNBC in an interview.
Metselaar said he was inspired to speak out by the experience of one of his own employees, Ilka Eren, who is a DACA recipient. The 25-year-old said she came to the United States from Turkey with her parents when she was 9. Eren kept her undocumented status a secret from friends, classmates and coworkers, even after she qualified for protected status.
“I was embarrassed of my situation,” Eren, who is an executive assistant at Ovation, told CNBC. “It was a heavy weight on my shoulders.”
Eren discussed her status with Metselaar after Trump announced he would wind down the program. Eren said the company has been supportive but the future remains uncertain. If DACA is struck down, she would no longer legally be able to work there.
“We don’t know what the future holds every single day,” she said. “There’s new news and a new tweet … so there’s a lot of anxiety and fear right now.”