Power

The SCOTUS decision on DACA is a win for Big Tech — and its workers

The tech industry has emphatically supported Dreamers for years and praised the court's ruling to uphold the policy that lets them live and work in the US.

Activists in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected President Donald Trump's move to rescind the DACA program that offers protections to 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted Thursday to block the Trump administration from overturning an Obama-era program that protects some 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from being deported. The 5-4 decision shields the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, representing a win for some of the tech industry's biggest names, who have fought for years to protect the program, as well as their workers who benefit from it.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court ruled that the Trump administration's decision to rescind DACA protections in 2017, was "arbitrary and capricious," which constitutes a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

DACA recipients cheered the decision on the court steps, joining hands and chanting in unison, "Home is here."

The tech industry quickly applauded the decision, too. "As an amicus in this case and an employer of Dreamers, we commend the Supreme Court's decision," Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda told Protocol. "It's good for our economy and most importantly, it is fair to Dreamers."

"Dreamers reflect the vital role that immigrants have always played in this country," IBM's senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Diane Gherson, said in a statement. "This has never been more evident than during this pandemic, with nearly 27,000 Dreamers health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis response."

Since the DACA program was created in 2012, some of the country's top tech executives, even those who often avoid staking out territory on political issues, have been emphatic in their support for DACA recipients.

In 2017, shortly after the Trump administration announced its intention to repeal DACA, Mark Zuckerberg held a livestream with Dreamers, calling the administration's actions "one of the most troubling things that I've seen in a long time in our country." The lobbying firm he founded, FWD.us, has been a leading advocate for DACA protections in Washington ever since the rule first came under threat in legal cases during the Obama years.

"This ruling was only possible because of the courage and resiliency of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who bravely stood up and refused to be ignored," FWD.us President Todd Schulte said in a statement. "It is a decision we will fight to protect."

For the tech industry, this fight has been deeply personal. In 2017, Tim Cook wrote in a note to Apple employees that 250 of its workers are DACA recipients. Last year, he filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, supporting the DACA program. IBM's former CEO Ginni Rometty met personally with Congress and the White House to advocate on this issue, and in 2017, the company sent 30 Dreamers to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers. Also in 2017, Microsoft went so far as to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration on behalf of its DACA recipient employees.

"Dreamers are Americans in every way but on paper and want to continue to contribute their talent and entrepreneurial spirit to advance the U.S. economy," Jason Oxman, president and CEO of the tech lobbying firm ITI, said in a statement. "These young men and women are our friends, neighbors and colleagues."

The court's decision stopped short of ruling that the Trump administration's actions constituted a violation of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. Such a ruling would have been a stronger defense against further efforts to overturn DACA. Rather, the court's decision hinges on the procedural steps the administration took in rescinding the rule. That means DACA is still vulnerable to being overturned in the future, barring some action by Congress.

In her statement, IBM's Gherson pushed lawmakers to act. "While today's verdict gives DACA recipients some temporary relief," Gherson wrote, "we urge Congress in the strongest possible voice to pass a bipartisan legislative solution that will provide the permanent sense of security the Dreamers deserve."

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep Reading Show less
FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep Reading Show less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins