By: Ted Johnson
WASHINGTON — The two largest Spanish-language networks issued statements expressing dismay over President Donald Trump’s decision to end the “DREAMer” program, and called for Congress to take quick action to allow young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S.
Randy Falco, the CEO of Univision, said that he was “disappointed, to say the least” by the announcement.
He said that the company “will continue to stand by them, including those talented DREAMers working at our company to advance our mission of entertaining, informing, and empowering the Hispanic community and the rising American mainstream we serve. Their stories are unmistakably American. They deserve better than this.
“That is why today’s announcement should not be seen by those who espouse anti-immigrant sentiments as a ‘win’ or a way to send hundreds of thousands of immigrants back into the shadows. We must not allow this move to foster ethnic discrimination in our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.”
Telemundo, a unit of NBCUniversal, also issued a statement, saying that they “are disheartened by the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“In addition to the human impact of this decision, repealing DACA will result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the United States and billions of dollars in economic growth over the next decade. We urge Congress to act swiftly to preserve the rights of these valuable members of our community. All of our elected representatives should be held accountable toward this end.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would end, after a wind down period, unless Congress passes immigration legislation. He faulted the Obama administration for starting the program in 2012 by executive order, which Sessions said exceeded the president’s constitutional authority.
But Falco and other business leaders, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, urged the administration to retain the program in an open letter last week. They cited its widespread impact, as it affects almost 800,000 people. They were allowed to stay in the country under a set of conditions, including that they arrived in the United States when they were under the age of 16.
The decision also drew criticism from other companies and corporate groups.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that “individuals enrolled [in the DACA program] in good faith and became ingrained in our communities and the nation’s economy. To reverse course now and deport these individuals is contrary to fundamental American principles and the best interests of our country.”
Microsoft called on Congress to pass legislation to protect DACA participants — known as “DREAMers” — before taking up tax reform.
“This is the only way, given the number of legislative days Congress has scheduled over the next six months, we realistically can expect Congress to complete DACA legislation in time,” Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post.
He also wrote that if Congress does not act, the company would “exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees.” He said that there were 39 employees they know of who fall into the category.
“If the government seeks to deport any one of them, we will provide and pay for their legal counsel,” he wrote. “We will also file an amicus brief and explore whether we can directly intervene in any such case. In short, if Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.”