Tech Leaders Respond to President Trump's Immigration Ban
On Friday, President Donald Trump followed through on a campaign promise and signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslin-majority nations for entering the United States. The order bars individuals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—all of which were named “countries of concern” in a 2016 law on immigration visas—from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days, and those trying to enter from Syria indefinitely.
Additionally, the order bans all refugees from entering the country for the next four months, and it calls for a review into suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which lets travelers from 38 countries, including ally nations, from renewing travel authorizations without an in-person interview.
A federal judge has issued a stay on President Trump’s order, but the effects of his actions have been felt throughout the weekend as families were detained for dozens of hours before being released, while others were removed from flights bound for the U.S. or ordered to go home after their arrival.
While protesters of all backgrounds and colors descended on various major airports throughout the country to voice their displeasure over the immigration ban, leaders in the tech industry used their high-profile platforms to join the call—in some cases speaking out in support of their own employees who were impacted by the order. Here’s a look at who said what over the weekend.
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
In a memo to employees, obtained by Recode, Apple CEO Tim Cook blasted President Trump’s immigration ban saying, “Apple would would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.” Cook continued: “I’ve 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. …There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday’s immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them.”
Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix
In a post on his Facebook page, Hastings called Trump’s actions “un-American.” “[T]hese actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe,” he said. “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, Founder & CEO, SpaceX, Tesla, etc.
A member of President Trump’s business advisory panel, Musk fired a couple of critical tweets in response to the new immigration policies:
The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2017
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
Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber
In sharing a memo to employees on his Facebook page, Uber’s CEO said he plans to bring up his concerns with President Trump in a meeting that he has scheduled later this week. “While every government has their own immigration controls, 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,” he said. “That means 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.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Pinchai, who sent a memo to employees last week, slammed the president’s immigration ban, pointing to more than 100 Google employees who are directly affected by the policy. “It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” Pichai wrote in the memo, via Bloomberg News. “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
An immigrant himself, Nadella expressed his concerns over the president’s policies, saying, “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. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO, Facebook
The social media pioneer shared a brief post on his Facebook page (where else?) saying, “Like many of you, I’m 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 don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation. We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help.”