With divisive policies and fiery commentary, U.S. president Donald Trump has provoked the business community in a way that hasn’t been observed in several administrations.
Fortune 500 executives are typically conservative when it comes to wading into politics; as basketball legend Michael Jordan once (reportedly) said: “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” The athlete’s message? No reason to take sides in politics; people of both political persuasions have money to spend. With exceptions, executives have largely practiced that approach.
But what happens when the country’s chief executive takes a position that business sees as harmful? You get presidential councils with few or no members, for instance. And you see companies that usually stay quiet taking a stronger public stance.
IBM, the tech giant in the midst of a colossal cloud-based turnaround, on Tuesday issued a statement rejecting President Trump’s call to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, that was established by the Obama administration via executive order in 2012.
DACA allows some immigrants who entered the country as minors and without documents to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
“IBM believes that Dreamers have made a positive contribution to our company and to our economy, and we support bipartisan legislation in Congress to allow them to remain in the United States,” the Armonk, N.Y.-based company tweeted Tuesday morning.
In a press conference earlier in the day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters that DACA was “an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws” and unconstitutional. IBM’s statement is notable because its CEO Ginni Rometty served on a Trump council before its dissolution.
Big Blue isn’t the only tech company that has rejected Trump’s move. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also spoke out, calling it a “sad day for our country.” And Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff simply tweeted: “DACA = LOVE.”