President Trump, through his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, formally proclaimed the end of the Obama-era DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), which protected young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. His announcement places a six month period for the sunset of the program. Trump’s logic is that its Congresses place and power to create a law to protect these individuals.
President Trump stated that "I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws."
But Sessions sees the plight of these young people from a different perspective. He opines that DACA is a "unilateral executive amnesty" and that the Obama administration "deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch." He went further and added that DACA "denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs."
The effect of terminating DACA is that almost 800,000 young immigrants could be on the threshold of losing the only US government program that has been shielding them from deportation since 2007.
The termination of the Obama-era “Dreamers” immigration program, Silicon Valley companies have begun to voice their opinion.
Throughout the campaign Trump swore close DACA on the first day of his presidency, but soon after he began to waver. February, In a press conference, Trump said, “We are gonna deal with DACA with heart. The DACA situation is a very difficult thing for me, as I love these kids, I love kids. I have kids and grandkids, and I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do and, you know, the law is rough.”
On Thursday Silicon Valley swiftly moved on the offense. Hundreds of tech leaders co-signed a letter entitled “Leaders of American Industry on DACA.” Signatories included Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Box CEO Aaron Levie, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Hewlett CEO Meg Whitman, Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Sam Altman of Y Combinator. The letter reads:
Since the country’s birth, America has been the land of opportunity – welcoming newcomers and giving them the chance to build families, careers, and businesses. In turn, our nation has been strengthened and fueled by the energy, drive, and passion of immigrants. As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows nearly 800,000 Dreamers the basic opportunity to work and study without the threat of deportation, is in jeopardy. All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count Dreamers among their employees.
Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation. Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.
Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.
We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, wrote a post on his personal Facebook page.
“I stand with the Dreamers -- the young people brought to our country by their parents. Many have lived here as long as they can remember. Dreamers have a special love for this country because they can't take living here for granted. They understand all the opportunities they have and want nothing more than the chance to serve their country and their community. And Dreamers deserve that chance.
We need a government that protects Dreamers. Today I join business leaders across the country in calling on our President to keep the DACA program in place and protect Dreamers from fear of deportation. We're also calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act or another permanent, legislative solution that Dreamers deserve.
These young people represent the future of our country and our economy. They are our friends and family, students and young leaders in our communities. I hope you will join us in speaking out. “
Uber’s CTO, Thuan Pham, also signed the letter, and an Uber spokesperson provided this statement by email:
"Dreamers grew up here, live here, and are contributing to our communities and our economy. Their contributions make America more competitive and they deserve the opportunity to work, study, and pursue the American dream."
Brad Smith, CEO of Microsoft made his statement about the importance of the DACA recipients
“As a CEO, I see each day the direct contributions that talented employees from around the world bring to our company, our customers and to the broader economy. We care deeply about the DREAMers who work at Microsoft and fully support them. We will always stand for diversity and economic opportunity for everyone. It is core to who we are at Microsoft and I believe it is core to what America is.
This is the America that I know and of which I am a proud citizen. This is the America that I love and that my family and I call home. And this is the America that I will always advocate for.”
Mozilla offered the following sentiment: “We want DREAMers to continue contributing to this country’s future and we do not want people to live in fear. We urge the Administration to keep the DACA program intact. At the same time, we urge leaders in government to enact a bipartisan permanent solution, one that will allow these bright minds to prosper in the country we know and love.”
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple tweeted “ 250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.”
Even Verizon voiced it’s opinion though , Craig Silliman, Verizon executive vice president of public policy and general counsel wrote:
“Diversity isn't just some politically correct concept, a liberal agenda item, the right thing to do. Diversity is important because it strengthens our companies, our organizations, our society. This is particularly important to remember as the nation debates the right policies to move our country forward. One of those important debates involves the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program. There currently are nearly 800,000 individuals in the United States who arrived in the country as undocumented immigrants when they were children. They are referred to as the "Dreamers." They grew up in this country and they are now investing in it and contributing to it. Almost all of them are now in school or in the workforce, and many have started their own businesses. At Verizon we have benefited immeasurably from the diverse experiences, talents and work ethic of our many immigrant employees, as have most other large companies and our country as a whole. The Dreamers are a truly valuable resource for our economy and our society. The DACA program has ensured that they could continue to be a part of our schools and companies and communities, but now there is a risk that this program will end. At a time when we are fighting to ensure that the US economy remains strong on the global stage, it is vital that we not lose the advantage of the Dreamers with their energy, diverse experience and backgrounds. This is exactly the type of diverse talent that has made the United States successful to date and on which our success will depend in the future.”
Now it will truly be Congress’ move. Will it save DACA and allow them these young people to remain and work in the U.S.,, or will they be relegated to the shadows of society, always struggling to be one step ahead of the “MIGRA”?