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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."

Protocol | Workplace

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit has opened the floodgates

An employee walkout, a tumbling stock price and damning new reports of misconduct.

Activision Blizzard is being sued for widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination.

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard is in crisis mode. The World of Warcraft publisher was the subject of a shocking lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing last week over claims of widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination against female employees. The resulting fallout has only intensified by the day, culminating in a 500-person walkout at the headquarters of Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on Wednesday.

The company's stock price has tumbled nearly 10% this week, and CEO Bobby Kotick acknowledged in a message to employees Tuesday that Activision Blizzard's initial response was "tone deaf." Meanwhile, there has been a continuous stream of new reports unearthing horrendous misconduct as more and more former and current employees speak out about the working conditions and alleged rampant misogyny at one of the video game industry's largest and most powerful employers.

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Protocol | Workplace

Founder sues the company that acquired her startup

Knoq founder Kendall Hope Tucker is suing the company that acquired her startup for discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Kendall Hope Tucker, founder of Knoq, is suing Ad Practitioners, which acquired her company last year.

Photo: Kendall Hope Tucker

Kendall Hope Tucker felt excited when she sold her startup last December. Tucker, the founder of Knoq, was sad to "give up control of a company [she] had poured five years of [her] heart, soul and energy into building," she told Protocol, but ultimately felt hopeful that selling it to digital media company Ad Practitioners was the best financial outcome for her, her team and her investors. Now, seven months later, Tucker is suing Ad Practitioners alleging discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Knoq found success selling its door-to-door sales and analytics services to companies such as Google Fiber, Inspire Energy, Fluent Home and others. Knoq representatives would walk around neighborhoods, knocking on doors to market its customers' products and services. The pandemic, however, threw a wrench in its business. Prior to the acquisition, Knoq says it raised $6.5 million from Initialized Capital, Haystack.vc, Techstars and others.

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Megan Rose Dickey
Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at Protocol covering labor and diversity in tech. Prior to joining Protocol, she was a senior reporter at TechCrunch and a reporter at Business Insider.
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Protocol | Workplace

What’s the purpose of a chief purpose officer?

Cisco's EVP and chief people, policy & purpose officer shares how the company is creating a more conscious and hybrid work culture.

Like many large organizations, the leaders at Cisco spent much of the past year working to ensure their employees had an inclusive and flexible workplace while everyone worked from home during the pandemic. In doing so, they brought a new role into the mix. In March 2021 Francine Katsoudas transitioned from EVP and chief people officer to chief people, policy & purpose Officer.

For many, the role of a purpose officer is new. Purpose officers hold their companies accountable to their mission and the people who work for them. In a conversation with Protocol, Katsoudas shared how she is thinking about the expanded role and the future of hybrid work at Cisco.

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Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

Protocol | Fintech

The digital dollar is coming. The payments industry is worried.

Jodie Kelley heads the Electronic Transactions Association. The trade group's members, who process $7 trillion a year in payments, want a say in the digital currency.

Jodie Kelley is CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association.

Photo: Electronic Transactions Association

The Electronic Transactions Association launched in 1990 just as new technologies, led by the World Wide Web, began upending the world of commerce and finance.

The disruption hasn't stopped.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

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