Joshua Roberts | Reuters
President Donald Trump announces his strategy for the war in Afghanistan during an address to the nation from Fort Myer, Virginia, August 21, 2017.
President Donald Trump is expected on Friday to eliminate a program protecting young people brought to the United States illegally as children from being deported — a move that’s drawing fierce criticism from the tech industry.
The program in question is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and since it was implemented under former President Barack Obama, more than 800,000 so-called Dreamers have been allowed to stay in the country by obtaining renewable work permits.
But Trump pledged on the campaign trail to scrap the Obama-era initiative. Even after promising in recent months to treat Dreamers with “great heart,” he has weighed ways to end the program, known by its acronym DACA, according to numerous reports this week. Early details suggest Trump’s announcement Friday would allow Dreamers to stay in the United States until their work permits run out. Under the existing program, permits must be renewed every two years.
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Once again, Trump risks open warfare with the tech industry, which has fiercely defended immigration programs — in no small part because of the high concentration of foreign workers and families in tech hubs like Silicon Valley.
Microsoft, for one, implored Trump on Thursday to reconsider his plan, noting that at least 27 of its employees — from engineers to financial professionals — could be affected by changes targeting the Dreamers.
“Ending DACA will drastically disrupt the lives of these individuals who willingly came forward to register with the federal government. They could lose their jobs and risk deportation,” Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, explained in a blog post.
It’s merely the latest spat between Trump and tech on immigration: Amazon, Facebook and Google have clashed with the president as he has sought to bar some foreign refugees, reduce legal immigration and rethink high-skilled foreign worker programs. Some, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, have specifically expressed to Trump directly their desire to see DACA kept intact.
The expected announcement Friday comes amid the threat of a looming lawsuit from 10 state attorneys general, led by Texas, who oppose DACA — and said they would take Trump to court if he hadn’t canceled it by Sept. 5.
—By Tony Romm, Re/code.net.
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