BUSINESS

Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Other Tech CEOs Slam Trump On Immigration Ban

CEO backlash.

29/01/2017 9:49 AM IST | Updated 29/01/2017 11:09 AM IST
Stephen Lam / Reuters

Several Silicon Valley CEOs have strongly criticised US President Donald Trump's controversial immigration ban against people from seven Muslim-majority countries, extending support to their employees affected by the order.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai criticised the controversial immigration order, saying it will create "barriers" to bringing great talent to the US, as the Internet search giant ordered its travelling staff to return to America. Pichai in an e-mail to staff said the ban on foreign nationals will hit at least 187 Google employees.

"We're 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," the Wall Street Journal quoted Pichai as saying in the email. "It is painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues," he said. Google has recalled around 100 of its affected staff from overseas, the BBC reported.

"Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected," he said. "If you re abroad and need help please reach out to our global security team...We wouldn't wish this fear and uncertainty on anyone and especially not our fellow Googlers," Pichai wrote. "In times of uncertainty, our values remain the best guide."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also spoke out against the ban, saying in a LinkedIn post, "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."

Nadella also shared an internal memo from Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, whose memo said, "As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called "Dreamers". We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people's freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings."

Nadella, until recently, had said he wasn't perturbed by Trump's warning on US jobs.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a strong internal memo said, "In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I've made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration -- both to our company and to our nation's future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also expressed concern over Trump's decision to severely limit immigrants and refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries, saying America is a nation of immigrants and should be proud of it.

"Like many of you, I'm concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called the order "upsetting" in a tweet.

Twitter separately said in a tweet.

Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox tweeted:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet:

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a Facebook post said, "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. 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."

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a Facebook post called the order "Un-American."

"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."

On Friday, Trump ordered "extreme vetting" of people entering the US from seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The controversial move, signed a week after he was sworn- in as the President, fulfills the vow Trump made on the campaign trail to limit Muslim immigration to the US. On Saturday, a Federal judge passed an order to temporarily block parts of the ban following chaos and protests at airports, providing some relief to stranded immigrants.

Immigrants make up much of the workforce in Silicon Valley, including many executive roles, and the tech industry has long advocated for more open immigration laws in the US, saying they need more skilled foreigners to fill technical jobs.

The new restrictions will have a major impact on American technology companies that hire skilled staff from all over the world on special H1-B visas, mostly used by Indian IT firms.

With PTI inputs

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