Tim Cook, Dreamers, DACA, and a Bad Game of Chicken

daca dreamers tim cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook has reaffirmed his support for an important immigration policy. This comes on the heels of the United States administration ringing the program’s death knell. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently confirmed the President will soon disband the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That is, of course, barring action by Congress to make the policy permanent over the next six months. Cook wrote that he’s “deeply dismayed” by the decision.

daca dreamers tim cook
The Statue of Liberty, once a welcoming beacon of hope to immigrants, doesn’t mean what she once did (Image Credit: Free-Photos)

What’s the Deal With DACA?

DACA is an Obama-era policy that provides protections for some illegal immigrants to defer being deported. In essence, it allows people who arrived in the United States illegally as children a chance to avoid deportation.

The program allows certain people to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. It also makes them eligible to apply for a work permit. Apple has announced that it employs at least 250 such workers, called “Dreamers.”

The policy came after multiple failed attempts to pass the DREAM Act through Congress. The DREAM Act would have made radical changes to US immigration law itself. Effectively, the legislation would have enacted DACA without the need for then-President Obama’s executive order.

Now that President Donald Trump is in office, things are different. The nation’s leader is trying to make new, more restrictive changes to immigration law and policy. For some reason, he’s latched onto DACA and wants to end the program, unless Congress makes it permanent.

Mr. Cook’s Response to the White House

The Dreamers are an important part of many aspects of the workforce, Mr. Cook points out. Mr. Cook has heard from many such employees, from all aspects of Cupertino’s worldwide operations.

They help customers in our retail stores. They engineer the products people love and they’re building Apple’s future as part of our R&D teams. They contribute to our company, our economy and our communities just as much as you and I do. Their dreams are our dreams.

Mr. Cook points out his understandable dismay. After all, nearly 800,000 Americans “may soon find themselves cast out of the only country they’ve ever called home”. These young men and women often arrived on American soil at such a young age they cannot remember their native lands.

It’s not as if these residents are causing the problems many say illegal immigration poses for America, as Mr. Cook points out. They have to undergo rigorous background investigations, and many have earned university educations here on their journey to achieve their dreams.

Playing Chicken With People’s Lives

Mr. Cook doesn’t say this outright, but it really boils down to President Trump playing chicken with people’s lives. Maybe he just wants to prod Congress into cleaning up the mess that is our current set of immigration laws, but I agree with Mr. Cook that this isn’t the way to do it.

President Trump has, in essence, fired a warning shot across Congress’s bow. “Figure out this law, or I’ll kick out 800,000 taxpayers,” President Trump is effectively telling our legislative body. Apple’s CEO doesn’t agree with that gesture, and is pledging full support for all of America’s Dreamers, not just the ones who work for the tech giant.

Mr. Cook vowed in his memo to “work with members of Congress from both parties to advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country.”

There is hope, Mr. Cook says in closing, and he is confident that “American values will prevail.” I hope he’s right, and that Congress doesn’t flinch during this devastating game of chicken.

The Full Text of Mr. Cook’s Memo

If you wish, read the full text of Mr. Cook’s memorandum to Apple’s employees below.


America promises all its people the opportunity to achieve their dreams through hard work and perseverance. At Apple, we’ve dedicated ourselves to creating products that empower those dreams. And at our best, we aspire to be part of the promise that defines America.

Earlier today, the Justice Department announced that President Trump will cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months if Congress does not act to make the program permanent.

I am deeply dismayed that 800,000 Americans — including more than 250 of our Apple coworkers — may soon find themselves cast out of the only country they’ve ever called home.

DACA recognizes that people who arrived in the United States as children should not be punished for being here illegally. It lets these Americans, who have successfully completed rigorous background investigations, go to school, earn a living, support their families, pay taxes and work toward achieving their dreams like the rest of us. They are called Dreamers, and regardless of where they were born, they deserve our respect as equals.

I’ve received several notes over the weekend from Dreamers within Apple. Some told me they came to the U.S. as young as two years old, while others recounted they don’t even remember a time they were not in this country.

Dreamers who work at Apple may have been born in Canada or Mexico, Kenya or Mongolia, but America is the only home they’ve ever known. They grew up in our cities and towns, and hold degrees from colleges across the country. They now work for Apple in 28 states.

They help customers in our retail stores. They engineer the products people love and they’re building Apple’s future as part of our R&D teams. They contribute to our company, our economy and our communities just as much as you and I do. Their dreams are our dreams.

I want to assure you that Apple will work with members of Congress from both parties to advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country.

We are also working closely with each of our co-workers to provide them and their families the support they need, including the advice of immigration experts.

On behalf of the hundreds of employees at Apple whose futures are at stake; on behalf of their colleagues and on behalf of the millions more across America who believe, as we do, in the power of dreams, we issue an urgent plea for our leaders in Washington to protect the Dreamers so their futures can never be put at risk in this way again.

Despite this setback for our nation, I’m confident that American values will prevail and we will continue our tradition of welcoming immigrants from all nations. I’ll do whatever I can to assure this outcome.

20 thoughts on “Tim Cook, Dreamers, DACA, and a Bad Game of Chicken

  • I want approved posting privileges for non-staff members to post on the main page. MacObserver thinks people should be able to enter the country illegally. They want open borders. They should start with their own staff and posting privileges.

    MacObserver: the same reason you vette, invite, and approve only certain people to post on your site is parallel to why the USA should be able to approve who comes here to live. Go ahead and ask yourself what would happen to Mac Observer if there were no passwords, etc and anybody could post. It would no longer be MacObserver as you now know it.

    Note: This is sarcasm and a thought experiment. I actually understand and support why you have approved authors. And you understand it too, which is why your double standard for the country is so mystifying.

    1. Teriobrien, thank you for appealing to logic and facts. It is rare to see the liberal MacObserver show any neutrality or balance when it comes to politics. It seems to me the staff is out of pace with their readers.

      Meanwhile the author of this article has ignored the facts in his responses and has retreated to the “I’m done discussing this” tactic after swirling up the hornets nest with another political post in a technology site.

      Meanwhile, I’d like to be an undocumented author who is given approved status to post like every other staff member. But no, that will not be allowed. Double standard. As all biased liberal publications (MacObserver included) have.

  • Thanks so much, jackadoodle, for injecting some common sense into this discussion. This is so disappointing to hear from MacObserver! You are so right about Tim Cook. An example of a smart guy who is not only poorly informed, ignorant about the law and the Constitution, and blinded by what he has been taught is the P.C. position, all the while being a bit of a hypocrite. Virtue signaling liberals are insufferable wherever they are. You are also correct that it’s discouraging to see so many liberals like Jeff, who probably is so brainwashed that he doesn’t even realize that he’s absorbed a toxic ideology by osmosis, so concerned about illegals and not caring a fig about Americans. I’ll ask again, don’t American young people between 20-36 have dreams? Why should they have to compete with people who should never have been here in the first place? These “DREAMERS” and their border-jumping parents should get billed by the local school districts who were burdened with the costs of educating their illlegal asses if you ask me.

    1. I see you haven’t responded to my questions or rebuttals, and that’s okay.

      What’s not okay is making a personal attack, on anybody. Calling someone brainwashed is an ad hominem attack, and has no place in an intelligent debate. For one thing, you know NOTHING about me. I’m actually quite conservative in most regards, not a liberal.

      I’m bowing out of this discussion. Remember, though, brain washing doesn’t just apply to liberals…

      And by the way, my comments and opinions are my own, not Mac Observer’s.

  • “going after a group of whom the vast majority have abided by our laws”

    Jeff, with all due respect, they’re illegally here and by definition are not abiding by our laws.

  • Sorry, Jeff, but you couldn’t be more wrong. jackadoodle is right. Obama was completely out of line, as was so often the case, blowing his nose on the rule of law, separation of powers and the Constitution. After he himself admitted over 40 times that he did not have the authority to unilaterally change immigration laws–Shazam–suddenly his magic pen and phone were more powerful than even he imagined! DACA was a completely cynical political move that was completely illegal. Those who fall prey to demagoguery about “the children” (average age today 22, some as old as 36!)forget Aristotle’s important and very true words: The law is reason free from passion. Destroy the rule of law and you get the rule of men, who turn into tyrants and dictators. There are many “DREAMERS” who have committed very serious crimes, and many have had their DACA status revoked because of it, and because of membership in criminal gangs. Even the ones who are supposed to be so fine and upstanding have often committed identity theft, green card fraud, and perjury on I-9 forms. And OF COURSE this sort of amnesty provides an incentive for more illegals to sneak into the country. Duh! These “DREAMERS” have already cost U.S. taxpayers a fortune for their public education and many of their families receive government assistance. If you haven’t noticed, the U.S. broke. We have enough of our own home grown freeloaders without importing more, or allowing them to stay. Ditto criminals. All children suffer when adults make bad choices. Would we say we aren’t going to send a bank robber to prison because he has children? Of course not. Will they suffer with a parent in prison. Yes.
    One more question: don’t native born American young people have dreams? Why exactly are they supposed to compete with illegals?

    1. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

      How is it an incentive for someone to enter the country illegally now, when the guidelines of DACA wouldn’t allow them to take advantage of its protection?

      As for the criminal activity…let’s do some basic math. Around 800,000 Dreamers potentially affected by DACA’s rescission. 670 former Dreamers currently facing removal proceedings, with 90 detained in custody. Since 2012, when the program was initiated, 365 former dreamers have been deported. That’s 1,035 potential deportations, already less than 10 percent, but the extrapolated numbers do tell a different story.

      Thus far, Trump’s administration has deported 43 former Dreamers, and released 20 of them to remain in the country. So, say that 960 number is cut down to 576 potential deportations. That would bring the number down to 941. Pretty small percentage, if you ask me.

      Remember, too that a DACA beneficiary can have his or her status removed just for being accused of a crime, even if he or she is never convicted.

      In closing, I agree that immigration needs to be reformed. However, I don’t agree that going after a group of whom the vast majority have abided by our laws, followed the paths that were laid out for them by our nation’s leaders, and have contributed greatly to the well-being of the American population. These Dreamers, as I’ve said, don’t fit into the traditional stereotype of illegal immigrants. Most of them are upstanding members of their community, contributing to the tax base.

      1. Jeff, with DACA we are demonstrating that given long enough, the United States will keep legalizing people who are here illegally. It doesn’t matter what the current DACA date is. Given long enough there will be another, and another. That pattern will end with the wall so that we can cut down the need for a new round of DACA people in 20 years.

        I wish MacObserver spent as much time fighting for Americans as for citizens of Mexico who are here illegally. It would be nice, ya know?

  • I want to start by saying that I think he’s right – those kids are not responsible for the actions of their parents. That is, however, only one side of the story.

    The other side is the large number of people that are sitting in prisons for real crimes that they have committed. If you are in California, pay a visit to the Central Valley sometime and the prison in Wasco, or the towns of Arvin or Shafter. The people behind bars are guilty of their crimes,and are not included in all of the surveys and interviews. Not everyone works for a company like Apple or lives in the bay. We all have a tendency to project our own environments at times.

    What makes this tricky is that both parts of that equation must be dealt with. It isn’t going to be easy, but I know we can find a way to proceed that is both fair and just, and that respects our laws, and I personally believe actual legislation is the way to do it. For the kids that are in the former group, a frank conversation with mom and dad would probably go a long way.

    1. Illegal immigrants sitting in prisons probably aren’t affected by DACA anyways. There are strict requirements for DACA eligibility. No felonies, no serious misdemeanors, and no more than three minor misdemeanors.

      1. Jeff, the point made by Jamie is correct. Consider the following data:

        DHS states that it has identified 221,000 non-citizens in the nation’s jails. This equals 11 to 15 percent of the jail population. Non-citizens comprise only 8.6 percent of the nation’s total adult population.


        The problem is illegal immigration. The DACA people are a component of that whole situation. We need to remove the incentive for people to bring kids into this country illegally. Because while they might bring a kid who one day becomes a DACA person, their parents might be part of the jail situation, or they might be taking jobs that would have gone to citizens.

        So we cannot distance the DACA people from the overall issue of illegal immigration. The humane way to make everybody happy (and for everybody to give up something as well) is to come up with a compromise that:

        a.) Builds the wall
        b.) Passes the raise act
        c.) Legalizes the current 800k DACA people.

        Everybody gets, and everybody gives. It is human to the current DACA people here, and it deters future illegal entry that would one day result in more people being in this situation.

      2. DACA provides no such incentive. Only people who were physically present in the United States prior to June 15, 2012 (I believe; the precise date in June may be different) are eligible to apply for DACA.

      3. Jeff the incentive is that if people sneak into America with their kids, they will one day be legalized. The country cannot reward it. Or if we do allow it this one time with DACA, it needs to come with the compromise of preventing future people from sneaking in with their kids.

  • We cannot have presidents writing laws like emperors. Obama did not have the constitutional authority to create DACA in the first place. We have a three part government, and laws come from the “legislative branch.” Not the executive branch.

    Congress has a long time to replace DACA. It will be two years before the last DACA expires. Congress is accountable to the voters. If DACA is, or is not continued, everyone will have to accept: it is the will of voters.

    If people want change, then they have to convince enough voters to put different congressmen in. That is how America works.

  • Those who have been placed in the position of enforcing the laws established to protect this country can sometimes be appear to be heartless as is the case with DACA. Mexico faces the same problems encountered in this country with non-citizens entering the US illegally. The Mexican government is very hard on anyone caught who is there illegally and the process of deportation is very swift. Obama’s executive order enacting DACA is unconstitutional and thereby illegal as many of his actions in his eight years in office. His prior attempt that was unsuccessful in the Congress was the proper way to accomplish his policies. With Congress refusing to legalize the bill, Obama supplanted a legal action of Congress, which again is unconstitutional. The constitutionality of laws and actions seem to be irrelevant in our culture today, but without abiding by the constitution, which has kept this country safe for over 200 years. I believe that as our culture continues down the road of unconstitutional actions by our elected officials spells the end of our democratic republic, which some appear to not understand by calling this country a democracy. It is important that our culture do things the correct way, letting Congress do its job for which they were elected.

  • I’m not fully versed on the subject and both my grandfathers came into the United States through Ellis Island. I’ve included a link: https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization along with the question: What ever became of the Naturalization process? Is it too inconvenient to go through the process of becoming a citizen of the United States? And while this affects Apple’s bottom line, hence Tim Cook’s interest, what about the foreign adopted children in the US that were never granted citizenship? Those adults adopted and raised by American families that are deported because they aren’t “citizens”?

    1. Ironically, Apple too has a “naturalization” process. For example, I cannot show up to Apple tomorrow, walk in, and start working without being officially invited to work there. They would kick me out. Suppose I said, “But I’m a good person!” They would still kick me out.

      Suppose I went to Starbucks and walked behind the counter and started making my own coffee instead of ordering it from the barista, who has permission to be behind the counter? They would ask me to leave. If I didn’t leave, they would call the police and have me removed.

      Illegal entry into the United States is the same paradigm as the above. It’s not about who is entering. It’s a basic offense against law and order. It’s chaos itself.

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