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Microsoft says it will pay legal fees to fight Dreamer employee deportation

Microsoft says it will pay legal fees to fight Dreamer employee deportation

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Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Microsoft will cover legal fees for employees who face deportation after the end of the Dreamers immigration program, the company says. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, made the promise in a statement condemning Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — something Smith called “a big step back for our entire country.”

Smith says Microsoft employs 39 people that are known to be protected by DACA, and that “if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.” That includes providing paid legal counsel, filing an amicus brief on behalf of the employee, and seeking ways to directly intervene. Microsoft will also “work as needed with other companies and the broader business community to vigorously defend the legal rights of all Dreamers,” although Smith provides fewer specifics here.

Smith asks Congress to pass a DACA replacement over the next six months, before the program shuts down — prioritizing it ahead of the upcoming tax reform process. “Microsoft, like many other companies, cares greatly about modernizing the tax system and making it fairer and more competitive. But we need to put the humanitarian needs of these 800,000 people on the legislative calendar before a tax bill,” he says.

Last week, Microsoft was one of hundreds of tech companies to sign a letter calling for legislation. Passing a bill to protect Dreamers would make the question of legal action moot, but Smith says Microsoft is “prepared for the possibility” that Congress won’t do it.