Bank CEOs have appeared particularly troubled by President Trump’s attempts to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and ban residents from several predominantly Muslim nations from entering the country.
“This is not a policy we support,” Blankfein, above, bluntly said in a January 2017 memo to employees shortly after the president first proposed banning immigrants from seven Muslim nations.
He argued that an immigration ban is not just bad policy, it’s bad for business. Banking is an industry that prides itself on its diversity and Blankfein told employees that for Goldman Sachs to succeed "we must attract, retain and motivate people from many backgrounds and perspectives.
“Being diverse is not optional; it is what we must be,” he said.
Bankers have also condemned Trump’s proposal to end the 6-year-old DACA program, which allows young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to live and work here without fear of deportation. If the Trump administration makes good on its threats to phase out DACA, roughly 800,000 young adults — some of whom are now working in financial services — could eventually be forced to leave the country.
It remains to be seen how far the Trump administration will get in advancing its policies on immigration; so far, efforts to end DACA and impose an immigration ban have been blocked by the courts.
There’s little question, though, that the uncertainty surrounding the program can be problematic for U.S. companies. Just last week, Bank of America was sued by a job applicant and DACA recipient
for allegedly denying him a job in 2016 because the bank was concerned it meant his work authorization might not be renewed.
President Obama established DACA by executive order in 2012, and BofA Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan has been among the business leaders who have urged Congress to end the uncertainty by enshrining DACA, or some version of it, into law.
“The individuals covered by the terms of this program live in and contribute to the neighborhoods and communities across our country that we serve every day,” Moynihan said in September, when the president first proposed ending DACA.