Two weeks after President Donald Trump moved to eliminate a program that protects some young immigrants from deportation, IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty is visiting Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to save it.
As part of a swing through Washington, D.C., this week, Rometty has met with Senate Democrats and Republicans in a bid to get them to preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, from phasing out beginning in March. The initiative, implemented in 2012, had allowed children brought to the United States illegally to obtain waivers so they could continue to live and work in the country.
“We’ve got 31 of these people at IBM,” said Christopher Padilla, the vice president for government and regulatory affairs at IBM, in an interview Tuesday. “They’re in a wide variety of jobs, everything from software development to people in our design lab who do regulatory compliance work.”
In Rometty’s meetings — including a session with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and an upcoming sit-down with GOP Sen. Jeff Flake — the IBM executive has even suggested that lawmakers address DACA as part of a bill they plan to consider in December to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. That’s a must-pass measure, and it could be an opening for lawmakers to tackle DACA after failing for years to reach a compromise on the program.
But Rometty did not say that Congress should reinstate DACA protections before moving on to tax reform — another major issue for IBM, and one that the company’s leader raised during her meetings this week.
Others in the tech industry, including Microsoft President Brad Smith, have urged lawmakers to halt tax reform while they weigh the future of more than 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA, known as Dreamers.
Rometty also met with White House officials to discuss the issue this week.