In an unprecedented move, Silicon Valley giants including Google, Facebook, Apple , Microsoft and Ebay, have openly and sharply condemned Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
Thousands of staff in the tech industry could be affected by Trump’s initiative, which bars travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the USA.
Some executives said the ban, which bars anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days, violated their personal and company principles.
The tech industry relies on the talent of foreign workers from around the world and is concerned the US President could give the industry’s temporary worker permits – known as H-1B – a complete makeover.
Google told its employees with passports from those countries to cancel any travel plans outside the US, the Independent reported.
Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, who is from India, said in a memo that at least 187 of its employees could be affected by the ban but it is unclear how many of them are currently outside the US.
In an official statement, Google said: “We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US.”
Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella who, too, was born in India, said, “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.”
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook also hit back at Trump’s executive order and made representations to the White House about the “negative effects” it will have on the company.
In a memo to his employees, Cook wrote: “I share your concerns” about Trump’s immigration order. It is not a policy we support. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.”
Apple founder Steve Jobs was the biological son of a Syrian immigrant.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also took to social media to share his concerns over the ban.
“The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that,” he wrote, adding his grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland and his wife Priscilla’s parents were refugees from China and Vietnam. “These issues are personal for me even beyond my family. A few years ago, I taught a class at a local middle school where some of my best students were undocumented.
He added: “They are our future too. We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here.”
Some of the Silicon Valley’s top leaders took even a blunter stance on the ban.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote on Facebook that Trump’s “actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all. Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe.”
EBay founder Pierre Omidyar, whose parents are Iranian, also slammed the order as “simple bigotry” while Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that “many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US” who don’t “deserve to be rejected.”