Local Tech Industry is 'All In' on DACA Extension

The robust and growing San Antonio tech industry is 'all in' when it comes to allowing DACA recipients to remain in the country and giving them a path to citizenship, News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.

Graham Weston, co-founder of Rackspace and Geekdokm and the father of the local tech industry, says he has 'Dreamers' at Rackspace, and 'Dreamers' fill many key positions in local tech firms citywide.

"I don't know how Texas would run without immigrants," Weston said.

He says many of the success stories of tech companies which have been born at the tech incubator Geekdom, which he started six years ago with Rackspace co-founder Nick Longo, are started by immigrants, and these firms are now employing dozens of people, both immigrants and native U.S. citizens, and are paying above average wages.

Weston says many of the 'Dreamers' at Rackspace didn't even know their U.S. residency was suspect throughout their childhoods.

"People who had been here their whole lives, many of them didn't fine out they were undocumented until they were in college, or until they had to produce a Social Security Number."

Weston and other local tech CEOs say a long term 'DACA' deal would be a major help in giving a boost to the city's tech industry, which pays salaries that average about $20,000 a year higher than the average San Antonio income, mainly for jobs which don't require a traditional college degree.

Weston says not only does he support the continuation of DACA and a path to citizenship, he says for the U.S. to continue to be on the cutting edge of advancing tech, the U.S. needs to again be a  welcoming place for the world's best and brightest.

"I want America to be the best place for innovation and technology," Weston said.  "If there is some bright person in Mexico with an idea, I hope they come to America."

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