Apple CEO Tim Cook on Sunday tweeted
that Apple employs 250 so-called "dreamers," or individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age when their parents or guardians illegally immigrated to the country.
"I stand with them," said Cook. "They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values."
Cook's tweet comes shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce whether he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
(DACA) immigration program as he promised.
Last week, Cook and around 300 other business leaders signed
an open letter
urging Trump to preserve the program, and to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act
or similar legislation as a permanent solution.
DACA allows many illegal immigrants who entered the United States at age 16 or under to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, and eligibility for a work permit in the country. The program was created by way of an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012.
Trump vowed to end DACA during his presidential campaign, but he later admitted it would be a tough decision. Trump said young individuals enrolled in the program will be treated with "great heart
If the program is ended, nearly 800,000 undocumented young individuals that fall under its protections would have the right to work legally until their two-year work permits expire, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
"Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), also known as work permits, are generally valid until they expire or the government demands they be returned," it said in an advisory posted to its website last week.
It's unclear if U.S. immigration authorities would then target those individuals for deportation, but it's certainly the feared outcome among those protected. Trump's decision is expected to be announced by Tuesday.
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