Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday, after much speculation, that the Trump administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). President Obama created the program in 2012 to allow undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children to legally work and study in the country, but President Trump wants to force Congress to act on the issue in the next six months.
The Department of Homeland Security will no longer take new DACA applications, and the program will officially end March 5, 2018. Recipients whose permits expire before then have until October 5 to submit a renewal application, but people whose permits expire later than March 5 won't be able to get a renewal.
After the news broke Tuesday morning, tech leaders began responding through letters to their employees, tweets, and blog posts.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter to Apple employees obtained by Refinery29 that he was "deeply dismayed" that 800,000 immigrants, including more than 250 Apple employees, may have to leave the country. He vowed to work with Congress to pass new legislation and to support Apple workers who may be affected.
"Despite this setback for our nation, I’m confident that American values will prevail and we will continue our tradition of welcoming immigrants from all nations," Cook said. "I’ll do whatever I can to assure this outcome."
Though he didn't mention his own employees, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Tuesday "a sad day for our country." He wrote in a Facebook post: " 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."
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also posted on Facebook that she was "heartbroken and deeply concerned" about the decision. She wrote: "As Mark said, Dreamers deserve to be protected and live without fear. I'm standing with them and their families today — and asking Congress to pass the DREAM Act or other permanent legislation right away to give them a much-needed path to citizenship."
Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, made similar comments on Twitter, writing: "It's against our values to turn our backs on #Dreamers. Everyone deserves a chance to work, study and contribute - the #AmericanDream!"
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki also tweeted: "Saddened by the decision to turn against our friends, neighbors & coworkers. Congress must do the right thing: protect Dreamers."
Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, called for Congress to put humanitarian needs above tax reform.
"As an employer, we appreciate that Dreamers add to the competitiveness and economic success of our company and the entire nation’s business community," he wrote in a blog post. "In short, urgent DACA legislation is both an economic imperative and a humanitarian necessity."
And IBM, run by CEO Ginni Rometty, released a statement saying the company "believes that Dreamers have made a positive contribution to our company and to our economy, and we support bipartisan legislation in Congress to allow them to remain in the United States."
For now, DACA recipients must wait for Congress to act. If you want to be an ally to undocumented immigrants, check out a few suggestions for how to act here.
This story was originally published on September 5, 2017.