The Current

Why Microsoft is challenging Donald Trump in court: CEO Satya Nadella

"We fundamentally believe that Dreamers are part of our society and participate in our economy in a very productive way."
Satya Nadella is the third-ever CEO in Microsoft's history. He believes there's a role for empathy in the company's renewal plans. (Veronique de Viguerie/ Reportage by Getty Images)

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When President Trump introduced his American Technology Council roundtable last June, he promised the assembled CEOs of some of the most powerful corporations in the U.S. that he and Congress were working on "immigration so that you can get the people you want in your companies." 

The first person he introduced that day was Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella.

Three months later, Microsoft would be one of the first companies to join a lawsuit by 15 states and the District of Columbia against the Trump administration for rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals better known throughout the U.S. as DACA. 

The repeal of DACA and the possible removal of nearly 800,000 people who came to the U.S. without documentation, many as children, has roiled American politics. 
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opens up about his life, philosophy and corporate responsibility in the age of U.S. president Trump in Hit Refresh. (Harper Collins)

For Nadella, protecting people in the U.S. living under DACA (also called Dreamers) was a fight worth having.

"We fundamentally believe that the Dreamers are core to our society and they participate in our economy in a very productive way so therefore we wanted to make sure we supported their cause," Nadella tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"That is the reason why we are doing what we are doing."

Originally from India, Nadella understands the desires and anxieties of coming to a new country.

"I absolutely, obviously, have the personal experience of benefiting from this enlightened immigration policy, and I definitely have that empathy." he says.

"But I also have, as a CEO of a company like Microsoft, the understanding of why this is core to American competitiveness. America has always benefited from having being the destination for the best and the brightest in skilled immigration from all over the world."

In Nadella's new book, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone, he points to the importance of empathy in creating innovation and a healthy corporation.

Nadella believes it is vital for corporations to take a stand on issues that matter. 

"It is also important for tech companies, and any company, to have principled stands that they take on timeless values, and so those are things that govern how we operate and how I think about what we do."

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

This segment is part of our season-long series Adaptation looking at the surprising, innovative, and sometimes ill-advised ways we accommodate a rapidly shifting world.