Despite pleas from business leaders, President Donald Trump’s administration announced Tuesday that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—an Obama-era plan protecting some 800,000 minors who entered the U.S. illegally from deportation. The decision comes with a six-month delay, giving Congress time to craft a replacement to the executive order.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was among the over 400 business leaders who urged the president earlier this month to keep DACA in place. And after the decision to end the program was announced Tuesday, Zuckerberg reiterated his stance on his platform of choice. “This is a sad day for our country,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “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.”
In his speech announcing DACA’s end, Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that DACA was an “overreach of executive power.” He said that President Barack Obama bypassed a Congress that had long been divided over the immigration status of illegal immigrant minors to pass DACA in 2012.
The Republican-controlled Congress, however, has continued to be divided on the matter. GOP leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan have urged Trump not to rescind DACA, arguing that those protected by the program were born and educated in the U.S. and have little connection to their country of citizenship.
On the other hand, some opposed to DACA argue that illegal immigrants are taking jobs otherwise available to U.S. citizens.
Meanwhile, the business community as a whole continues to put the pressure on Congress to pass a DACA replacement. Aside from Facebook, IBM also tweeted after the decision’s announcement that “we support bipartisan legislation in Congress that allow [DACA recipients] to remain in the United States.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff also Tweeted: “DACA = LOVE.”