On Tuesday, just after President Donald Trump ordered the government to end an Obama-era program that protected undocumented youth from deportation, Silicon Valley leaders condemned his decision and showed their support for those affected.
"This is a sad day for our country," Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post after Trump's announcement. "The decision to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) 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."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the change in policy and added that Congress had six months to pass replacement legislation before Trump begins to phase out DACA. As early as March, some of the 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children (a.k.a. "Dreamers") will be eligible for deportation. Both Sessions and Trump put the onus on Congress to come up with a solution. But after intense backlash, the president tweeted that he would step in if Congress couldn't complete the task.
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
Zuckerberg wasn't the only one calling out Trump's decision. Javier Palomarez, who leads the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, resigned from Trumps' diversity coalition after the announcement. Additionally, Laurene Powell Jobs will release political ads blasting the Trump administration for its DACA decision, according to Recode. These are the first-ever political TV ads to be released by her philanthropic initiative, called Emerson Collective.
Microsoft said in a blog post that it would pay for affected employees' legal counsel and directly intervene in any deportation attempts. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who says there are 250 Dreamers at Apple, vowed to work with members of Congress to "advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country," according to a note to Apple staffers that was obtained by Recode.
"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 said in the note to his employees.