Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executives are speaking out against President Trump’s decision to end a program protecting undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors.
Today, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to sunset the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, Zuckerberg took to Facebook to criticize Trump’s decision to end the program created by the Obama administration in 2012. The program shields an estimated 800,000 “Dreamers,” the nickname given to those protected, from deportation by DACA.
If the DACA program is rescinded, those Dreamers would be forced to leave the U.S. in six months. Zuckerberg called the Trump administration’s proposed changes “cruel,” describing today’s announcement as a “sad day for our country.”
“The decision to end DACA is not just wrong,” he wrote, “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 also called on Congress to pass a bipartisan “Dream Act” or other legislation to create a way for minors brought to the country by their parents to become citizens. He directed Facebook users to Fwd.us, an organization created by the tech community in 2013 to help improve the nation’s immigration system. On the website, there’s a letter dated Aug. 31 that’s addressed to Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and several other members of Congress and signed by around 300 tech executives, expressing concern about changes to U.S. immigration policy.
The letter signed by Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and many others provides details on how the economy would be impacted if 780,000 Dreamers are forced to leave their jobs.
According to the letter, the economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national gross domestic product and also lose out on $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions.
“All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes,” the letter reads. “More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.”
Zuckerberg isn’t the only executive to organize a countermovement in support of DACA. Emerson Collective, the philanthropic arm of Laurene Powell Jobs—the entrepreneur, philanthropist and former wife of Apple CEO Steve Jobs—will start running its first-ever political ads on television in response to the Trump administration’s decision. According to Recode, the ads will begin on Wednesday and run in several markets including Denver, Louisville, Ky., Raleigh, N.C., and Las Vegas.