Business, government leaders slam Trump's DACA decision

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Sept. 6, 2017 at 11:22 AM
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Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Critics of President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program offered support to potential deportees on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced the end of the program, authorized through executive order by former President Barack Obama, which allows about 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. The plan to halt the program comes with a six-month waiting period, in which Congress could establish a permanent solution.

Later in the day, Trump tweeted, "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!"

The announcement of the end of DACA prompted criticism from government and business leaders, in addition to those most affected by its repeal.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., noted in a speech Wednesday morning that DACA beneficiaries, often called "Dreamers," "have known no other country but ours" and that they "contribute greatly to our country."

Schumer said 91 percent of those affected are employed.

He called on House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for "immediate consultation" so that both houses of Congress can quickly pass a law.

"We are prepared to attach it to other items [of legislation] to pass it," Schumer said, referring to Democrats in Congress.

In a comment on Twitter, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "Trump is 1st @POTUS in 30 yrs who has been anti-immigration -- who rejects that immigration is the lifeblood of our nation."

Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith announced that his company will take part in court proceedings on behalf of any deported employee.

"If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees. 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."

Apple Inc. President Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered similar encouragement for employees in the DACA program.

"Apple will fight for them to be treated as equals," Cook said in a message to employees. "I've received several notes over the weekend from Dreamers within Apple. Some told me they came to the U.S. as young as 2 years old, while others recounted they don't even remember a time they were not in this country."

Zuckerberg encouraged Facebook users to contact their legislators.

"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, " Zuckerberg wrote.

Sessions' announcement Tuesday set off hastily planned demonstrations across the country. A demonstration at New York City's Trump Tower led to 34 arrests, and protests in Chicago and Los Angeles drew hundreds of people.

About 150 protesters, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, gathered at the Los Angeles event. Garcetti urged Congress to pass legislation "once and for all, right now."

About 220,000 DACA recipients reside in California, the most of any state, ABC News reported.

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