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Tech, Business Leaders Back Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration (Updated)

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in April.

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A number of prominent technology leaders — among them Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, Ron Conway and Max Levchin — have signed on to a brief supporting President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, currently on hold pending a Supreme Court hearing.

Obama signed the orders — one creating a program called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, and the other expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program — in 2014. The programs would permit parents of American citizens, as well as immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, to apply for deferred action — which would allow them to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

Texas and 25 other states sued to block the actions, contending the president overreached his authority. A federal appeals court agreed and upheld a lower court injunction blocking implementation of the orders. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments April 18 on the administration’s appeal of that decision. The outcome will affect millions of immigrants living in the U.S.

Some 63 entrepreneurs and business leaders filed a brief Tuesday supporting the Obama administration. They argue that the business community would benefit from policies to allow undocumented individuals — about 11 million living in the U.S. — to contribute to the American economy. Failing to modernize the nation’s immigration system makes it harder for U.S. businesses to compete globally, they said.

The business leaders argue that the United States benefits from innovation and entrepreneurship of immigrants, who launched 25 percent of the high-tech companies founded in the U.S. over the past decade.

Update: Zuckerberg posted a note on Facebook explaining his decision:

As I travel around the world, I see many nations turning inwards. I hear growing voices for building walls and distancing people labeled as “other.” Whether it’s refugees, undocumented immigrants or underrepresented minorities, I hope we have the wisdom to understand that the best path forward is always to bring people together, not divide them.

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