September 5, 2017 Last Updated 4:00 pm

Apple, other techs, organizations begin weighing in on president’s move to rescind DACA

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a memo to Apple employees that ‘DACA recognizes that people who arrived in the United States as children should not be punished for being here illegally’

The decision today by the president to rescind President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, has been widely criticized by US tech companies, and even the very conservative US Chamber of Commerce.

Jeff Sessions

“I am deeply dismayed that 800,000 Americans — including more than 250 of our Apple coworkers — may soon find themselves cast our of the only country they’ve ever called home,” wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook to employees.

“DACA recognizes that people who arrived in the United States as children should not be punished for being here illegally. It lets these Americans, who have successfully completed rigorous background investigations, go to school, earn a living, support their families, pay taxes and work towards achieving their dreams like the rest of us. They are called Dreamers, and regardless of where they were born, they deserve our respect as equals.” wrote Cook.

Microsoft, in a blog post, said it would defend its ‘Dreamers’ in court, if necessary.

“For the 39 Dreamers that we know of who are our employees, our commitment is clear. If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees,” said Brad Smith, President and Chief LegalOfficer. “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.”

Several city mayors and governors have also weighed in, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel who said the decision to rescind DACA “strokes a blow against our core American values and is an affront to basic human decency.”

“It’s a sad situation,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “We have a lot of young people in our city that that are afraid already of their parents being taken away by the federal government. There’s a fear out there. I don’t know what the mindset in Washington is when it comes to immigration, but clearly they are on the wrong path in a lot of different ways, and I think this will just add more fear to our city of Boston, and our young people in the city of Boston.

The US Chamber of Commerce said that DACA was “sound public policy.”

“Individuals enrolled in good faith and became ingrained in our communities and the nation’s economy. To reverse course now and deport these individuals is contrary to fundamental American principles and the best interests of our country,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Neil Bradley said in a statement.

DACA

“I tried to work as hard as I could with this administration on this issue, and I continue to want to work with them on other issues like tax reform, like healthcare reform, and so many other important things,” Javier Palomarez, president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said today when announcing his resignation from President Trump’s National Diversity Council.

“But I really don’t see the logic in doing what we’re doing right now. This did not have to happen,” Palomarez said.

Palomarez may have been reacting to the president continuing to equate those eligible for DACA with criminal gangs. In the White House statement defending its move, it said their had been a rise in gang activity, though no one convicted of a felony was eligible for the program.

The president also said the program was leading to an increase in overall illegal immigration, though DACA only applied to those lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007 (meaning, that anyone entering the country recently would not be eligible). It was claims such as these that have led some to question whether the president fully understood the program he was ending.

Still, others were pleased by the president’s decision.

“I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA. As the Texas-led coalition explained in our June letter, the Obama-era program went far beyond the executive branch’s legitimate authority,” Texas Attorney General Paxton said. “Had former President Obama’s unilateral order on DACA been left intact, it would have set a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to bypass Congress and change immigration laws. If ever there were a violation of the President’s duty to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’ DACA was it: President Obama unilaterally conferred lawful presence and work authorization, and then President Obama used that lawful-presence dispensation to unilaterally confer U.S. citizenship.”

The president’s action ends DACA, but delays its implementation for six months, forcing the Congress to either write new immigration legislation, or let the program end. Immigration, like social security and tax reform, is a sort of third rail of US politics. Efforts to pass immigration reform likely cost House majority leader Eric Cantor his seat when Tea Party backed David Brat used the issue in 2014. Canter was been considered at the time to be the top candidate to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

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