WeatherTech founder David MacNeil is fed up with the political gridlock that has left thousands of children’s lives hanging in the balance.
MacNeil, who donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, has vowed to cut off funding to any Republican candidate who doesn’t back upcoming legislation that would protect immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“I’m not supporting politicians that aren’t working hard to get this done, from the dogcatcher on up,” MacNeil told the Chicago Tribune.
MacNeil says that while he was initially drawn to Trump’s call for tighter border security, that all changed when the president rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision struck a personal note with MacNeil, who has at least two employees who are protected under the program.
Civics Lesson: DACA
President Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 via executive order. The policy covered an estimated 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. While it allowed young immigrants to attend school and work without fear of deportation, it did not provide permanent legal status. As such, those who qualified needed to renew their standing every two years.
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One of them is WeatherTech’s export sales manager, who has been with the company for the past 11 years. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, on behalf WeatherTech, recently presented her with the large business exporter of the year award.
“She works in the export department, helping sell American-manufactured goods all over the world,” MacNeil said. “Is this not an important person? Is this not an important job? It just frustrates me to see political deadlock and gamesmanship and playing political football with people’s lives.”
Without DACA protection, the employee (who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 12 years old) faces the threat of deportation.
“America is a country of immigrants, and there are 800,000 people who have grown up here and been educated here—they have their own American dreams to follow,” MacNeil stated. “To think that we would possibly jeopardize losing these people to some other country would be a tragedy of epic proportion.”