Tech executives ranging from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Google CEO Sundar Pichai have slammed the White House’s decision to end DACA, an immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in 2012.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy allows certain illegal immigrants who have entered the U.S. as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
The program will have an “orderly wind down” and there is pressure on Congress to come up with a legislative alternative. There will be a six-month delay for current recipients.
Almost immediately, Silicon Valley execs took to social media to express their dismay.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it “a sad day for our country,” adding the decision to end DACA is “not just wrong,” but also “particularly cruel.”
Box CEO Aaron Levie tweeted that Congress should work on allowing Dreamers, as they are known, to stay. “This should be priority # 1 given the confusion and stress ending DACA will cause,” Levie wrote.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressed similar sentiments, saying Congress needed to act now.
“Dreamers are our neighbors, our friends and our co-workers,” Pichai wrote. “This is their home. Congress needs to act now to #DefendDACA.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote that Apple would fight for “Dreamers” to be treated as equals.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also expressed his displeasure, tweeting: “Dreamers make our country & communities stronger. We stand for diversity and economic opportunity for everyone.”
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith penned a blog post, saying the company intends to help its DACA workers even if Congress doesn’t act.
“If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees,” Smith wrote. “If the government seeks to deport any one of them, we will provide and pay for their legal counsel. We will also file an amicus brief and explore whether we can directly intervene in any such case. In short, if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.”
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy would be coming to an end. In a statement obtained by Fox News, Sessions said:
“This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens.
In other words, the executive branch, through DACA, 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.”
The Trump administration faced a Tuesday deadline to make a decision on DACA or face legal action by Republican state AGs who hoped to force the president’s hand in discontinuing the program. According to the Department of Homeland Security, no current DACA beneficiaries will be impacted before March 5, 2018.
On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted that Congress needed to “get ready to do your job – DACA!,” referring to any upcoming passage of legislation surrounding the policy.
Fox News’ John Roberts, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Brooke Singman and Alex Pappas contributed to this report. This story has been updated to include information from Apple.