The Trump administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA for short, that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who were first brought to the United States as children.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that the Obama-era program is being rescinded—making nearly 800,000 young immigrants vulnerable to deportation. Congress now has a six-month window to either make protections permanent or introduce alternative legislation. If not, new DACA recipients will begin to lose their ability to work legally in the United States as early as March next year.
Leaders in the technology industry have been vocal about their support for DACA, penning an open letter to President Trump and Congress late last week in a final attempt to sway opinion.
Many were quick to share their disappointment in the Trump administration’s decision on Tuesday, including Microsoft president Brad Smith who called on Congress to move quickly and pass legislation that protects the 800,000 so-called Dreamers that are threatened by Trump’s decision.
“For Microsoft, the first step is clear… We believe this means that Congress now needs to reprioritize the fall legislative calendar… This means that Congress should adopt legislation on DACA before it tries to adopt a tax reform bill,” wrote Smith in a blog post.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) September 5, 2017
Smith humanized the policy decision, describing how the people protected by DACA “grew up” in the United States, that they are law-abiding, tax-paying workers who are “loyal” to the country.
“The Dreamers are part of our nation’s fabric. They belong here,” he said. “This is why we will work as needed with other companies and the broader business community to vigorously defend the legal rights of all Dreamers.”
In a post of his platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also strongly denounced DACA’s termination.
“This is a sad day for our country. The decision to end DACA is not just wrong. It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it,” he wrote. “It’s time for Congress to act to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or another legislative solution that gives Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.”
In a comment on the post, Zuckerberg said this gives Congress an opportunity to lead and to “show that our government can make important things happen.”
In a memo obtained by TechCrunch, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was “deeply dismayed” at the outcome, noting 250 Apple employees are protected by DACA.
“DACA recognizes that people who arrived in the United States as children should not be punished for being here illegally,” he wrote. “I want to assure you that Apple will work with members of Congress from both parties to advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also took to Twitter to express his support for DACA.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) September 5, 2017
Congress returned to Washington on Tuesday following the August recess—and President Trump had a message for them.
The president tweeted, “Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!” Congress now has until March 2018 to find an alternative to the program.