Silicon valley is leading the way in corporate resistance to Trump’s immigration executive order which temporarily bans refugees from seven Muslim-maj
Silicon valley is leading the way in corporate resistance to Trump’s immigration executive order which temporarily bans refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations, a 120-day halt to refugee resettlement and vastly increased restrictions on immigrants entering the U.S. The tech industry have criticised the plan and have vowed to help finance legal opposition and assist employees trapped by his executive order.
This is an industry that has long championed liberal causes, has relied on immigrants and celebrated their diversity and contributions. But there seems to be little consensus on exactly how to respond to Trump’s move. According to letters sent to staff, big companies such as Microsoft, Google and Apple have offered legal aid to employees that have been affected by the order and a number of Silicon Valley executives have donated legal efforts to support immigrants.
Tech leaders are especially outraged by Trump’s new policy as many tech workers hold H-1B visas which enable foreigners with special skills to work for U.S. companies, allowing 65,000 workers and another 20,000 graduate student workers to enter the U.S. annually.
Although the majority of the tech industry avoided directly criticising the new president they have been far more vocal and proactive than in other industries, such as major U.S. banks and car companies, who had so far been mostly silent.
Trump’s actions have triggered a global backlash, generating confusion, anger and shock as refugees and visitors alike were kept off flights and stranded in airports.
Uber head Travis Kalanick and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk have both Tweeted that they’d take industry concerns about immigration to Trump’s business advisory council, where they both serve. Kalanick has faced a backlash on social media for being part of the advisory group. In a Facebook post on Sunday Kalanick slammed the immigration ban calling it “wrong and unjust” and decreed that Uber would help it’s employees by creating a $3 million fund to help drivers with immigration issues.
However, Uber have now been criticised by picking up passengers from JFK airport who were left stranded after New York City taxi drivers went on strike in support of Muslims affected by Trump’s order. Social media outrage has ensued and calls to boycott Uber and delete the app have been spreading.
Lyft, Uber’s main competitor has taken full advantage of criticism and donated $1 million to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) which has been working tirelessly to help immigrants detained in airports.
Google has also created a fund to help it’s employees and others affected by the ban, at $4 million it’s the largest humanitarian aid fund the company has ever established. Many hope that this sort of action could help set a precedent at smaller companies. Brad Taylor, a 37 year old engineer at web analytics firm Optimizely began organising the protest “Tech Against Trump” soon after learning of Trump’s order. In addition to holding a rally in Palo Alto, California, organisers have been urging employees working for tech companies that have remained quiet about Trump to threaten office walk outs. He said “The purpose of this is not to be against tech, but to urge them to be on the right side of history.”