Support grows for immigrant program


Associated Press

PHOENIX — Corporate executives, Roman Catholic bishops, celebrities, and immigrants have become unlikely companions in an effort to pressure national leaders to save an Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from deportation.

Immigrant groups have been staging daily protests in the scorching Phoenix heat, mobilizing people with phone banks in California, and demonstrating outside House Speaker Paul Ryan’s church and office.

Roman Catholic archbishops around the country have been sending letters urging the president to maintain the program. The CEOs of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Starbucks and others also joined the effort, saying the economy will take a hit if the program is eliminated.

The campaign comes as President Donald Trump is weighing whether to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally as children to remain in the U.S. and legally work. The White House says Trump is expected to announce the decision Tuesday.

Immigrants are bracing for the prospect of losing their jobs as their work permits end and possible deportation if the president does away with the program.

Eli Oh of San Jose, California, said he was among the first to apply for the program after working as a waiter under the table to pay for his nursing degree.

Oh, 30, has lived in the United States for nearly two decades since his Korean parents overstayed their visa. He works as a rapid response nurse in Northern California, where he responds to hospital emergencies, and fears he’ll be unemployed if his work permit goes away.