Tech

Apple CEO Tim Cook slams Trump's immigration policy in Supreme Court filing

Key Points
  • Tim Cook disagrees with President Trump's decision to terminate DACA, the Obama-era program that shields some immigrants, known as "dreamers," from deportation.
  • Apple disclosed in the brief that it employs 443 dreamers.
  • Apple said it wouldn't exist without immigration and that co-founder Steve Jobs is the son of an immigrant.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a filing to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the company disagrees with President Trump's decision to terminate DACA, the Obama-era program that shields some immigrants without documentation from being deported.

"We are distressed at the prospect of ripping our DACA colleagues from the fabric of our company," Cook and HR head Deidre O'Brien wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief. Apple said it employs 443 dreamers, or people that DACA protects from deportation.

The Trump administration's effort to undo DACA is part of a broader effort to restrict immigration, whether it's through family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border or the imposition of a travel ban from several majority Muslim countries to the U.S. DACA and other immigration topics remain a national focus and are likely to be core issues during the 2020 presidential campaign.

DACA deportations could cost the US economy over $400 billion, according to a 2017 study. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft also oppose Trump's policies.

The Supreme Court said in June that it will hear arguments in three cases over the legality of the administration's decision to end DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The cases are scheduled to be argued on Nov. 12, and a decision is expected to be public by June. Lower courts rejected the administration's previous attempts to end the program.

Apple said in its brief that the company wouldn't exist without immigration and that co-founder Steve Jobs is the son of an immigrant. The company said it's morally wrong to deport immigrants who followed U.S. policy and achieved DACA status.

Steve Jobs shows off the first iPhone.
SHAUN CURRY | AFP | Getty Images

"Every one of these talented Dreamers should have the same opportunities as Steve did to create, work hard, and help change the world for the better," Apple said. "After the DACA program was created, Apple eagerly sought out and hired Dreamers — relying on the commitment our government made to them."

The number of dreamers at Apple is up sharply from 250 in 2017, according to a tweet from Cook at the time. Cook called immigration "the biggest issue of our time," and he also co-wrote an op-ed with Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch pushing Congress to protect DACA with legislation.

The Supreme Court brief includes descriptions of five unnamed employees currently in the DACA program, including an engineer, a maps analyst, retail employees and a phone support specialist.

"We did not hire them out of kindness or charity," Apple said. "We did it because Dreamers embody Apple's innovation strategy."

Amicus curiae briefs are filed by parties that have a strong interest in an outcome even if they're not directly involved in the case. Courts aren't required to take amicus arguments into consideration. Apple has filed other amicus briefs in the past, but this is the first time one has been signed by Cook, an Apple spokesperson confirmed.

"We collectively owe it to the Dreamers to hold up our end of the bargain," Apple said. "It is not just a legal requirement. It is the moral thing to do."

The White House declined to comment. 

WATCH: Bank CEOs testify on DACA hires and renewals

VIDEO4:5604:56
Bank CEOs testify on DACA hires and renewals