Immigrant-Rich Tech Industry Responds To Trump’s Immigration Ban
Several big tech companies and their executives are criticizing President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, with some even citing the fact that they are themselves immigrants or descendants of immigrants.
“As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote on LinkedIn. “We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”
Nadella also cited the president and chief legal officer of Microsoft Brad Smith, who sent an email to employees saying that he believes in “broader immigration opportunities, like … the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called ‘Dreamers.'”
“It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who was born in India, according to Bloomberg News.
The co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, a Russian-born American who immigrated from the Soviet Union, was reportedly seen at the San Francisco airport over the weekend in order to protest with others.
Google cofounder Sergey Brin at SFO protest: “I’m here because I’m a refugee.” (Photo from Matt Kang/Forbes) pic.twitter.com/GwhsSwDPLT
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) January 29, 2017
PayPal co-founder Max Levchin also spoke out and compared the situation to his own family’s plight.
My family & I, & 1000s of Soviet Jews like us came to US as refugees in ’91 running from regime that persecuted us because of who we were.
— Max Levchin (@mlevchin) January 29, 2017
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his social media profile that he is “concerned” about the executive orders.
“We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat,” Zuckerberg said, adding that, if law enforcement focuses on non-threats, then Americans will be “less safe by diverting resources.”
“That said, I was glad to hear President Trump say he’s going to ‘work something out’ for Dreamers — immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age by their parents,” the CEO continued.
Zuckerberg made sure to mention that his great-grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland, while his wife Priscilla’s parents were refugees from Vietnam and China. (RELATED: Silicon Valley Seems To Love Burying Conservative News)
Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, the online network for lodging, tweeted that his company will be “providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US.”
Open doors brings all of US together. Closing doors further divides US. Let’s all find ways to connect people, not separate them.
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 28, 2017
If you’re able to host refugees in need via Airbnb, you can sign up here: https://t.co/ccI5BKW0mX https://t.co/WWTGUNemMv
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 30, 2017
Tech magnate Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa and is a Canadian and American citizen, also says he disagrees with Trump’s immigration policy.
Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They’ve done right,not wrong & don’t deserve to be rejected.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2017
Jack Dorsey of Twitter says that the executive orders are “upsetting.”
The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting. We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S. https://t.co/HdwVGzIECt
— jack (@jack) January 28, 2017
The company itself even issued its own Tweet.
Twitter is built by immigrants of all religions. We stand for and with them, always.
— Twitter (@Twitter) January 29, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to employees noting his concern with Trump’s executive orders limiting immigration, saying that employees who may be affected should contact the human resources department and the legal team. (RELATED: Apple CEO Sends Consoling Letter To All Employees After Trump Win)
“Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” Cook wrote, according to The Verge. “Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe,” Cook continued.
Another Silicon Valley mogul, Uber founder Travis Kalanick, sent an email to his employees with the subject “Standing up for what’s right.”
Kalanick says that the company contacted the “dozen or so employees,” individuals who they know for sure are affected and further, urges others to reach out to employees impacted by the immigration ban. He describes how he disagrees with Trump’s executive orders, saying they will ultimately impact many innocent people — an issue he will mention when meeting with President Trump at the next business advisory group meeting.
Following a wave of intense criticism both from the public and employees, Kalanick took time to explain his role with Trump’s economic advisory group in his most recent comments.
“I understand that many people internally and externally may not agree with that decision [to join], and that’s OK. It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree,” Kalanick wrote in the email, which he later published on Facebook. “But whatever your view please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change; and have never shied away (maybe to my detriment) from fighting for what’s right.”
Lyft, the ride-sharing service “little brother” to Uber, has taken a somewhat different approach, criticizing Trump’s policies while also donating “$1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution,” according to an official company blog post. (RELATED: Peter Thiel Changes His Mind, Says He Will Donate $1.25 Million To Trump, Report Says)
A great deal of what big tech CEOs say and do is under scrutiny, especially when it relates to Trump.
Starbucks, for example, says it’s planning on hiring 10,000 refugees after hearing of Trump’s executive order. “#BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter at one point Thursday morning. Many people have been tweeting with the #BoycottUber and #BoycottLyft as well, with people defending Trump supporting Uber, and people opposing Trump supporting Lyft.
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