The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it would bring an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era executive action that protects nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation. White House officials said the program will officially expire on March 5, 2018, giving Congress six months to replace it with new legislation.
It didn't take long for many of Silicon Valley's top tech leaders spoke out against the decision.
In a lengthy post on his personal account, Facebook Inc. (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the move a "sad day for our country." Zuckerberg said that he's met "Dreamers," or young adults who have been shielded by DACA, and has always been "impressed by their strength and sense of purpose," adding that they don't deserve to live in fear.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report CEO Tim Cook sent an email to employees saying that he was "deeply dismayed" by Trump's decision to end DACA and that if Congress failed to enact some kind of legislation, Apple would intervene to protect Dreamers. Prior to the decision, Cook said in a tweet that more than 250 of the tech giant's employees are Dreamers.
"I've received several notes over the weekend from Dreamers within Apple," Cook wrote to employees on Tuesday. "Some told me they came to the U.S. as young as two years old, while others recounted they don't even remember a time they were not in this country."
"...On behalf of the hundreds of employees at Apple whose futures are at stake; on behalf of their colleagues and on behalf of the millions more across America who believe, as we do, in the power of dreams, we issue an urgent plea for our leaders in Washington to protect the Dreamers so their futures can never be put at risk in this way again," Cook added.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google, urged Congress to defend DACA in a tweet shortly after the decision was announced. YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki echoed that statement in a tweet, saying that she was "saddened by the decision" and called on Congress to "do the right thing" by protecting Dreamers.
Updated from Sept. 5 with additional information.
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India-born Pichai and Google cofounder Sergey Brin, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Russia, have been outspoken critics on Trump's anti-immigration policies, beginning with the travel ban that was enacted in January.
Other CEOs that followed suit included Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report CEO Satya Nadella who tweeted that the tech giant stands for "diversity and economic opportunity for everyone." And Microsoft President Brad Smith doubled down in a blog post, saying that Congress should adopt legislation on DACA before it tries to adopt a tax reform bill. The company employs 39 people who are Dreamers and Smith said that if Congress fails to act, Microsoft would "exercise its legal rights" to protect its employees.
"In short, if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side," Smith wrote.
New Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi defended DACA in a tweet, saying that it's against American values to "turn our backs" on Dreamers, who also deserve a chance to pursue the "American Dream." Box Inc. (BOX) - Get Box, Inc. Class A Report chief Aaron Levie also tweeted that Congress needs to "act immediately" to allow Dreamers to remain in the U.S. He noted that that should be Congress' number one priority, given the "confusion and stress," created by ending DACA.
In the past several months, numerous tech CEOs have railed against a number of Trump's decisions, including the executive order signed in January that restricts immigration from seven Muslim majority countries, Trump's decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord, as well as the President's response to the Charlottesville attacks. Others, meanwhile, have taken their response even further by exiting Trump's business councils, some of which have now been disbanded.