By September 5, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation – could come to an end. For days, there have been conflicting reports about whether President Donald Trump will put an end to the program that has shielded nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants. As the day nears, many have spoken out for the program, including Silicon Valley. In a letter signed by 100 CEOs and business leaders – including Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Alex Nogales – urged Trump to keep DACA.
“As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are concerned about new developments in immigration policy that threaten the future of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children,” the letter, which was posted on Zuckerberg’s FWD.us, reads. “…Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation. Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions. Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”
In the past, Trump has praised DACA recipients and stated he has a “big heart” for the beneficiaries. Since 2012, the Barack Obama-enacted program has allowed undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows so they can work, attend school, and live without fear of deportation. But the program is facing one of its biggest threats. Recently, 10 attorneys general called on Trump to rescind the program. Since Obama didn’t get congressional approval to give life to DACA, Trump can unilaterally move to end the program with a simple memo. If Trump doesn’t meet the AGs’ demands by September 5, they will sue the government.
Trump may feel pressured to end the program to stop a lawsuit, but if he chooses to give in, he’ll face the same DACA recipients, who fought so hard and so long to get this program in the first place.