With the 2020 presidential race less than a year away, Apple CEO Tim Cook says his focus is on policy over politics, and among those he is most focused on is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“No matter who is in the White House, the things I’m focused on are going to be the same,” Cook told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis in an exclusive interview. “I am focused on DACA. We have 450 folks in Apple, employed at Apple, who are employed on DACA. I want those folks protected. Not just the 450 but the broader DACA people in America.”
In October 2019, Cook signed on to an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court voicing his opinion of the Trump Administration’s efforts to rescind DACA, a program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation.
“I will fight until my toes point up on the subject because I think that it is so core to who we are as a people that we not turn our back on people that came into the country as kids, they were brought here well before they could make a decision on their own,” Cook said. “These people are the core of what an American is.”
President Donald Trump attended the facility in Austin, Texas, where Apple makes its the Mac Pro computer. The company is breaking ground on a new plot nearby, investing $1 billion in the city, expecting to employ 5,000 new employees and an eventual capacity for 15,000.
While immigration reform is a top priority for Cook, he is also focusing on the environment, job creation and privacy. He stressed that Apple is a tech company not trying to make money off of user’s personal data.
“We don't want to know all the details about your life. We're not trying to vacuum up all your data and form it into a profile,” Cook said. “We want your information held on your device. It's between you and your phone, not you and Apple. And so it's a very different kind of approach than some companies take.”
Over the past couple of years, major tech companies have been under fire for giving away and selling users' personal data.
“We view privacy as a fundamental human right. And from our point of view, I'm personally very worried that in a world where nothing is private, then freedom of expression just evaporates, and if freedom of expression evaporates, this is just - this is a classic part of what it means to be an American.”
Several 2020 Democratic candidates have stated that it’s time to break up big tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon to help with the dispersion of user’s personal information without their consent.
Cook doesn’t see breaking up as the solution.
“I think there's too much focus right now on fines and breakups and not enough on the data that the companies hold that users did not make an informed decision to give to,” he said.