Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said Monday he plans to work until the “bloody end” to sway President Donald Trump to keep intact an Obama-era program extending legal protections to young undocumented immigrants.
Palomarez, who is also a member of the White House’s National Diversity Council, said Trump would be going back on his word to treat the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with “heart” if he does make the decision to end it.
“If he gets rid of DACA, he’s showing that he is a liar,” Palomarez told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Trump said from the outset of his presidency he would treat DACA carefully and promised to “show great heart” when asked how he would handle the program.
And last week, Trump said, “We love the ‘Dreamers,'” referring to undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children and want to continue living their lives in the country.
Palomarez said he supports Trump focusing on deporting criminals, but that trying to deport nearly one million young people who came to the country as children and who have been granted deportation deferrals is wrong morally and makes no sense from an economic standpoint.
He might exit Trump’s diversity council if the President decides to end DACA, even with a delay in implementation, he said.
“This would be a deplorable action on behalf of this President,” Palomarez said.
Palomarez pointed to Republican members of Congress calling on Trump to continue the program, and echoed their arguments that there should be a permanent legislative solution as reasons that Trump might still be swayed.
“Hopefully we can convince this President to do the right thing,” Palomarez said.
He said the significance of the moment could perhaps even inspire Congress to pass immigration reform after dragging its feet on the issue for years and leaving millions with an uncertain legal future.
Sources told CNN Trump was expected to end the program with a potential six-month delay, during which Congress could potentially pass legislation protecting people who would otherwise lose their legal protection under DACA.
Palomarez and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in last year’s election. But since Trump’s victory Palomarez has sought to work with the White House on several policy fronts.