IBM Statement for the Record on H.R.6 – American Dream and Promise Act of 2021
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On June 18, 2021 IBM submitted the following Statement for the Record to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary on H.R.6 – American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. The statement includes a testimonial from an IBM Dreamer.
The IBM Corporation (“IBM”) was very pleased to see the Senate Judiciary Committee discuss H.R.6, the American Dream and Promise Act, on June 15, 2021, the date marking the 9-year anniversary of the establishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program.
The DACA program has enabled nearly 40 talented individuals to become current IBMers, and while we are immensely proud of their accomplishments, we are equally troubled by the uncertainties they face regarding their futures in the U.S. DACA IBMers reside across more than 10 states, from New York, to North Carolina, to Texas, to California. They perform various and significant roles throughout our company, including in the cloud computing and artificial intelligence areas that are critical to our strategy, and their work is vital to clients across the retail, travel and financial services areas, to name just a few. They are engineers, chiefs of staff, client services representatives and software developers, among many others.
IBM has made its position very clear that Congress must pass a permanent, bipartisan legislative solution that will provide a path to citizenship for these DACA work-authorized employees. IBM has been and will continue to be a staunch advocate for this important Congressional action. Our company helped create and continues to lead the multi-industry Coalition for the American Dream. Our former CEO was one of the first tech industry leaders to meet with Congress and the White House to urge action on DACA. IBM has participated in hundreds of meetings with Members of Congress and staff from all states to relay our support for permanent DACA protections; we’ve signed on to countless letters addressed to the former and current Administration and Congress; and we’ve signed amicus curiae briefs in support of DACA. We’ve also facilitated in-person and virtual fly-ins of our Dreamers so they could share their personal stories and appeal directly to their state’s Senators and Representatives, giving them a voice – for the first time.
IBMer, Alan Torres, who serves as Chief of Staff to the General Manager for IBM’s Consumer and Travel Market, recently shared his perspective on the issue: “To me, DACA embodies the American dream – the opportunity for a validated history, a stable present, and a better future. DACA doesn’t grant me any right or privilege over any American citizen, rather it gives me my own opportunity to rise as an active member of society.”
“They say that success is when opportunity meets preparation, and DACA was just that, an opportunity. An opportunity to bring my skillset into the market and make a better life for myself and my family. Isn’t that the true definition of the American dream? With DACA, my dreams were no longer restricted just because of my place of birth. And I was now being measured purely by my abilities and skill set.”
Torres goes on to say, “Where would I be without DACA? Honestly, I don’t know, but I am reminded of the fragility of it all every 18 months when it is time to renew my permit, and anxiety kicks in as I wait for the DACA renewal to be approved before I am forced to take a leave of absence at work. I am reminded every time politicians argue over the legality and ethical dilemma of it. I, and many like me, continue to live in a nebulous area of the law – with an expiration date stamped on our backs. And even so, I am still grateful for the opportunity. But I yearn for a more permanent stability.”
“This is what I know for sure: without DACA, my life would be very different. I would never have been able to become an engineer, to become an IBMer, to become a leader in my company. More importantly, without these opportunities, I would have been confined to a life of limited opportunities and possibilities.”
IBM, once more, calls on Congress to pass a permanent bipartisan solution that creates a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other Dreamers. We have shared here advocacy steps we have taken thus far on behalf of Alan and every other Dreamer that IBM has been fortunate to have as part of our team, and we will continue advocating as long as it takes for the permanent solution they deserve to become reality.
Click here to download a PDF of the Statement for the Record to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.