(CBS SF) – Bay Area leaders and CEOs are condemning the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the program, which former President Barack Obama created in 2012, would be “rescinded” and that Congress has six months to provide a legislative fix.
The program shields from deportation young immigrants commonly known as “Dreamers” who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. California has 200,000 DACA recipients, the most of any state.
Shortly after Sessions said the program would be rescinded, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, “President Trump’s decision to end DACA is a deeply shameful act of political cowardice and a despicable assault on innocent young people in communities across America.”
Pelosi called on Republican leaders in both the House and Senate to bring a bill to the floor.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) called the decision “heartless” and said, “By turning his back on our young Dreamers and their families, President Trump has once again sided with division and hate.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) reiterated Congress must act, saying, “Failure to protect young people who have come out of the shadows would constitute an abject moral failure.”
Feinstein also had a message to DACA recipients, saying, ” I say this is not over. I stand with you and your families. You are valued. Our country needs you. And I won’t stop fighting to protect you.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) said, “The impetus for the President’s action seems just as clear: an extremist, racist agenda…Once again, President Trump seems to bend to the will of extremists rather than mainstream Americans, just as he did while condoning white supremacists in Charlottesville.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D), who also represents San Jose in Congress, said, “Today, the Trump Administration once again shows it has no dignity for our friends, neighbors, and colleagues.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) wrote, “Instead of devastating families, President Trump and Republicans should be working toward comprehensive immigration reform to permanently fix our broken immigration system.”
Among local officials, Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose attempted to reassure DACA recipients, saying “To San Jose’s tens of thousands of DREAMers, we reiterate: ‘We’ve got your back.”
Liccardo went on to say that “History will not forgive Donald Trump for abandoning our DREAMers.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a tweet, “It is heartless of the administration to ask #DREAMers to come out of the shadows & now to punish them for pursuing their American dream.”
The move to end the program has also been widely condemned by leaders of Silicon Valley tech companies.
“This is a sad day for our country,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on his page. “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, along with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were among 400 executives who urged in a letter last week to Trump to preserve the DACA program.