Saturday, November 25, 2017

‘Millions will live in fear of deportation’. Trump’s immigration ban blasted by tech bosses at Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla

Dozens of companies in Silicon Valley have joined in protest against ban imposed on seven predominantly Muslim countries which affects hundreds of staff.

  • Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen citizens banned from entering the US
  • “I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out,” says Trump
  • Millions will live in fear of deportation, warns Mark Zuckerberg
  • Google CEO recalls all employees affected by ban
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook tells 115,000 employees he has reached out to the White House
  • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to visit Washington this week
  • Airbnb CEO offers free accommodation to refugees not allowed in the US

The world’s tech capital Silicon Valley has clashed with President Donald Trump’s new immigration policy as hundreds of workers at companies including Facebook, Google and Netflix are affected by the ban imposed on seven largely Muslim countries.

Trump has in his first seven days in office signed several new policies, but none has backfired as much as the immigration ban on Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Citizens from these countries, including 500,000 green card holders, have been banned from entering the US for 90 days while the government drafts a more in-depth plan on immigration. The Department of Homeland Security has, however, been given permission to expand the list of countries at any time.

In addition, Trump’s order also includes the ban of people for the same period of time even if they have dual-nationality, with one of the passports being from one of the seven mentioned countries.

Trump has also ordered the complete suspension for 120 days of the US refugee system and the indefinitely suspension of the Syrian refugee program.

“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We do not want them here,” Trump said when signing the new order.

“We want to ensure that we are not admitting to our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.”


Silicon Valley hits back

The technology industry, one of the most multicultural sectors in the US, has hit hard at Trump’s executive orders with CEOs and other executives taking to their social media channels to protest against the restrictions.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was one of the first execs in the Valley to react to the new immigration policy.

In a Facebook post he told of his and his wife’s families history of immigration and expressed his concerns regarding the new Trump policies.

He said: “I am concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump. We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat.

“Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who do not pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said in an email to staff that the company’s innovation track was only possible due to its multiculturalism that brought talent from countries all over the world.

He said: “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.

“I have heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support … In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.'”

Cook also told employees that he has reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on Apple’s coworkers and the company.

At Google, CEO Sundar Pichai, said in a company email the organisation is “upset” with the ban which directly affects at least 187 staff.

He said: “We are upset 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.

“It is painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.”

At Microsoft, the ban has also caused concerns amongst employees, leading the company to send out an email to all staff .

The company said it is aware of at least 76 employees ” who are citizens of these countries and have a U.S. visa and are therefore affected by this new Order”.

In the letter , chief legal officer Brad Smith said Microsoft “has already contacted everyone in this group”.

On LinkedIn, CEO Staya Nadella, said: “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I have both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world.

“We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

In a long email to staff, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the company is already reaching out to several employees to mitigate the results of the government’s executive order.  Kalanick has also said the ban will cause financial stress to drivers from the affected countries and the company will compensate them “pro bono during the next three months”.

He said: “Allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the U.S.’s policy since its founding.

“This ban will impact many innocent people—an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.”

Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings, said: ” 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.

“A very sad week, and more to come with the lives of over 600,000 Dreamers here in a America under imminent threat. It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”

Elon Musk, CEO of Telsa and SpaceX, said: “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.

“The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.”


Airbnb offers free accommodation to those affected

Meanwhile, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky has announced on Twitter that the company will provide free accommodation 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.

“Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stay tuned for more, contact me if in urgent need for housing.”

Across the US, thousands are gathering at the country’s main airports to protest against Trump’s executive orders.

In New York, hundreds of protesters, including lawyers and politicians, called for the override of the ban.

Lawyers were also seen working on the floor at JFK Airport to provide their services to those arrested at the airport.

The immigration ban is set to continue to dominate the political landscape in the US over the coming days and we will continue to follow this.

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