By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
September 1, 2017

Good morning.

Hundreds of chief executives—including Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Cisco’s Chuck Robbins, GM’s Mary Barra, HP Enterprise’s Meg Whitman, Marriott’s Arne Sorenson, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, and Warren Buffett—published an open letter late yesterday urging President Trump not to end the program known as “Dreamers” that prevents the deportation of people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

In the letter (which you can read here), they point out that all the affected people “grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle and 16 percent have purchased a home. At least 75 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients as their employees.” It says deporting those workers would cost the U.S. economy $460 billion.

The unusual public letter marks a new stage in the battle between big business and the president. Earlier this year, before Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord, CEOs like Cook registered their concerns in private phone conversations with the president. But now, they’ve either lost that access, or concluded that private appeals don’t work.

So instead, they are making their concerns public. That’s a tactic aimed more at putting their opposition on record—and showing public support for their employees—than actually attempting to influence the decision. If the last six months are any guide, their public protest will only deepen the president’s determination to undo the program.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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