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President Donald Trump faced a backlash today led by tech titans and Hollywood celebrities over his plans to abolish the ‘Dreamers’ programme that grants work permits to illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children.
Mr Trump’s controversial decision has left the future of nearly 800,000 people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation in the balance.
The president was uncharacteristically silent yesterday on the rollback of the programme, which is expected to be formally announced by the White House today on Tuesday.
But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim both declared their support for the so-called ‘Dreamers’ on social media.
Mr Zuckerberg, who changed his Facebook status to “I support DACA,’ wrote: ‘I stand with the Dreamers – the young people brought to our country by their parents.
“Many have lived here as long as they can remember. Dreamers have a special love for this country because they can’t take living here for granted.
“We need a government that protects Dreamers…These young people represent the future of our country and our economy. They are our friends and family, students and young leaders in our community. I hope you will join us in speaking out.”
Mr Cook also tweeted support for the programme introduced in 2012 by Barack Obama, writing: “250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft president Brad Smith along with Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Cook joined 350 tech giants who signed an open letter to the president and congressional leaders supporting DACA.
“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,” reads the letter.
Hollywood stars also voiced their opposition to Mr Trump’s plan to end DACA after a six month period in which he’s asking lawmakers in the Republican-majority US Congress to follow his lead and repeal the law.
“I stand with #Dreamers who make our country stronger. Check out the thread below to see how you can defend DACA now,” tweeted Susan Sarandon, who included a link to a Women’s March defending the programme.”
Star Trek actor George Takei tweeted: “Trump’s plan to deport Dreamers in 6 mos. is cruel, divisive and politically motivated. Shame on him, and shame on us for electing him.”
Gina Rodriguez, who stars in ‘Jane the Virgin,’ a US TV series featuring an undocumented immigrant character, wrote : ‘More I stand with Dreamers. #defendDaca.’
Actor and ‘A Few Good Men’ director Rob Reiner, an outspoken critic of the president, said on Twitter: “Unfortunately there is no other way to say this: Donald J. Trump is a heartless p****.”
‘Girls’ creator Lena Dunham, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, tweeted: “Imagine if the president could understand that the recipients of DACA ARE the Americans he’s been tasked with protecting #saveDACA.”
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