Google backs Biden immigration plan, aids US ‘Dreamer’ programme

US President-elect Biden plans to reform immigration after Trump’s curbs on foreign workers that have hurt tech firms.

Google and other large US technology firms rely heavily on highly qualified foreign workers [File: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo]

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

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) programme.

It comes as Google and other big US employers transition from four years of criticising 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 January 20. Biden’s Democratic Party will control Congress, boosting the chances of his ideas becoming 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 would donate $250,000 to the organisation United We Dream, which helps immigrants unlawfully living in the US after arriving as children to secure work permits and avoid deportation using DACA.

Shattered dreams

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 Inc said it would continue to advocate on behalf of “Dreamers”.

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

Source: Reuters