Hispanic business leader blasts Trump over DACA

Story highlights

  • "I really don't see the logic in doing what we're doing right now," Palomarez told HLN's Carol Costello

Washington (CNN)Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, announced he was resigning from President Donald Trump's diversity coalition over the administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Palomarez announced his decision on Tuesday morning, expressing his strong disagreement with the Trump administration on immigration.
"I tried to work as hard as I could with this administration on this issue, and I continue to want to work with them on other issues, like tax reform, like health care reform, and so many other important things," Palomarez told HLN's Carol Costello. "But I really don't see the logic in doing what we're doing right now."
    He continued, "I am resigning right now from that council."
    Palomarez said his on-air proclamation served as his resignation.
    "This is it. This is the resignation," Palomarez said.
    Palomarez's announcement slamming Trump's immigration policy sparked a dispute over the council he said he was exiting.
    Frank Schembari, a spokesman for Palomarez, said Palomarez resigned from the "President's National Diversity Coalition," which he said was different from the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, a group formed during the campaign.
    The National Diversity Coalition for Trump denied on social media that Palomarez had been a member.
    A White House aide said the "President's National Diversity Coalition" does not exist, and that the National Diversity Coalition for Trump is independent from the White House.
    Palomarez wrote in a New York Times op-ed that the group he was quitting never had a formal meeting.
    "The National Diversity Coalition never formally met -- a stark sign of the President's lack of interest in our work," Palomarez wrote. "Cabinet members and senior administration officials would hold off-the-record meetings with members of our association and solicit our advice, but it obviously never mattered to the President himself."
    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. Prior to the inauguration, Palomarez agreed to support the incoming President as a diversity adviser and stopped short of leaving his role with the coalition in the wake of Trump's comments blaming "many sides" for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
    Palomarez said in an interview with MSNBC at the beginning of the year that Cohen called him shortly after the election about helping the incoming President's team.
    "I have agreed to offer advice and counsel when called upon by the Trump team," Palomarez said.
    In a BuzzFeed report both Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen and the National Diversity Coalition for Trump shared announcing Palomarez's advisory role in January, Cohen remarked on the significance of working with such a prominent Hispanic figure.
    But months into the new administration, Palomarez said the public had been given a false promise on how young undocumented immigrants would be treated.
    The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce issued a statement condemning the administration's move Tuesday and said Trump had "knowingly deceived" the public on the fate of DACA, which Trump had said repeatedly he would treat with "heart."
    "The President misled our country by fabricating a position and making promise, only to turn around and do the complete opposite," Palomarez's statement for the group read.
    In a series of interviews prior to the administration's announcement on DACA, Palomarez made clear any decision to rescind the Obama-era initiative would result in him ending his role with the council.
    "I am out if he ends it," Palomarez told CNN's Poppy Harlow earlier Tuesday.
    Palomarez told Harlow he agrees with Trump's stated desire to prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes. But he called Trump's decision to end DACA, an Obama-era program extending legal protections to young undocumented immigrants, "a huge disappointment."
    "We're dealing with a President that gave his word, that promised that he would take care of these 800,000 young people," he said.
    Palomarez also expressed his disappointment Monday, telling CNN's Jim Acosta that Trump would be going back on his word to treat the recipients of the 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 said.
    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.
    UPDATE: After Palomarez announced his resignation from the "President's National Diversity Coalition," a White House aide said there is no such group. This story has been updated to reflect that dispute.