Tech firms condemn anti-DACA ruling

The ruling threatens innovation and competition, warn tech executives

Technology executives have publicly condemned a federal ruling that threatens the government's DACA immigration leniency program. 

Federal judge Andrew Hanen in Texas ruled in favor of several states that had challenged the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) on Friday. 

The DACA initiative, created under the Obama administration in 2012, enables some people brought into the US illegally as children (known as 'dreamers') to defer deportation for two years and obtain a work permit. 

The Trump administration announced plans to phase out the program, but the Supreme Court ruled the decision to rescind the program as arbitrary and capricious in June 2020. 

Last week’s ruling said the Obama administration exceeded its authority when creating the program and prevents the government from approving any applications, but doesn't prevent it from accepting them. Neither does it immediately affect any existing recipients of the program, the ruling said. 

Technology companies that have long supported the DACA program expressed their disappointment that it is again under threat. 

"We are disappointed by today's district court ruling on the DACA program, which creates uncertainty yet again for #Dreamers. Even if appealed, it speaks to the importance of providing a permanent legislative solution for #Dreamers. Congress needs to act," said Microsoft president Brad Smith on Twitter. 

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"We are disappointed by the district court ruling on DACA. Welcoming people from all backgrounds is a cornerstone of American values & critical to innovate & compete globally. No one can live w/ persistent uncertainty. Congress must act," tweeted Adobe EVP & GC Dana Rao. 

FWD.us, a nonprofit founded by tech and business leaders to advocate for immigration issues, called the ruling "devastating" in a statement. "Today makes absolutely clear: only a permanent legislative solution passed by Congress will eliminate the fear and uncertainty that DACA recipients have been forced to live with for years," it said. 

Reuters reported that Google and Twitter sent it emailed statements in support of DACA following the ruling. 

President Biden, who pledged to support and strengthen the initiative when he came into office, said he would appeal the ruling, calling it "extremely disappointing."

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