Donald Trump's travel ban provokes top tech bosses from Apple, Google, Uber, Twitter, Facebook and more to speak out on immigration

Lynsey Barber
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Activists Protest Muslim Immigration Ban At Dallas Fort-Worth Airport
Source: Getty

The high profile bosses of several of the United States' biggest technology companies have spoken out after Donald Trump issued an executive order banning people from seven majority Muslim countries entering the US.

Google founder Sergey Brin, himself a migrant from the former Soviet Union, attended a protest at San Francisco airport in a personal capacity, he told reporters.

Google boss Sundar Pichai sprang quickly into action, almost immediately recalling its staff members travelling oversees who may be affected by the ban, with several other firms following suit.

Here's what they had to say...

Tim Cook - Apple

In an email to staff obtained by Recode, the boss of one of the world's biggest companies said: "This is not a policy we support".

"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.

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. We’re providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.

As I've said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there’s one thing I know about the people at Apple, it’s the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It’s as important now as it’s ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.

Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, "We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now."

Satya Nadella - Microsoft

The Indian born boss of Microsoft turned to LinkedIn to share his thoughts, and the email sent to staff about the executive order, saying: "As an immigrant and as a chief executive, 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."

The email said:

I wanted to reach out regarding the Executive Order signed yesterday in the United States relating to immigration. As you may have read in the press, this Order applies an immediate 90-day moratorium on admissions and reentry into the United States of all individuals who are not already U.S. citizens from seven countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan.

Our first priority whenever there is a change in immigration laws anywhere in the world is to address immediately the needs of our employees and their families. So most importantly, if you or a family member are a citizen of one of these seven countries and you’re not yet a U.S. citizen, I have some specific information for you.

Our goal as a company is to provide you with legal advice and assistance. We’re aware of 76 Microsoft employees who are citizens of these countries and have a U.S. visa and are therefore affected by this new Order. We’ve already contacted everyone in this group. But there may be other employees from these countries who have U.S. green cards rather than a visa who may be affected, and there may be family members from these countries that we haven’t yet reached. So if this impacts you or a family member and we haven’t yet been in contact with you, please send an email right away to the CELA U.S. Immigration Team. And of course, if you’re uncertain about whether you’re affected, use this same alias and let us know so we can work with you and answer your questions.

As we have in other instances and in other countries, we’re committed as a company to working with all of our employees and their families. We’ll make sure that we do everything we can to provide fast and effective legal advice and assistance.

More broadly, we appreciate that immigration issues are important to a great many people across Microsoft at a principled and even personal level, regardless of whether they personally are immigrants. Satya has spoken of this importance on many occasions, not just to Microsoft but to himself personally. He has done so publicly as well as in the private meetings that he and I have attended with government leaders.

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.

We believe that these types of immigration policies are good for people, good for business, and good for innovation. That’s why we’ve long worked to stand up for and raise these issues with people in governments. We will continue to do that.

There’s a monthly Employee Q&A scheduled for Monday. Both Satya and I look forward to addressing these topics further at that time. And we’ll continue to monitor all of these issues and work closely with employees and families that are affected.

Travis Kalanick - Uber

Kalanick, who joined the President's Strategic and Policy forum to advise Trump on business, said the company would compensate drivers affected by the ban, sharing an email to staff on Facebook.

Brian Chesky - Airbnb

​On Twitter, the founder and chief of Airbnb, said the startup will help house refugees denied entry to the US.

Reed Hastings - Netflix

On Facebok, Netflix founder and chief executive said on Facebook:

"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."

Marc Benioff - Salesforce

The founder and chief executive of Salesforce has previously been outspoken on politics and has continued to do so, tweeting pictures of protests at airports and thanking the civil liberties group fighting the ban.

Jack Dorsey -Twitter

The founder and chief executive of Twitter also spoke out personally:

Elon Musk - Tesla and SpaceX

The entrepreneur is also an adviser to the President along with Kalanick, He tweeted:

Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook

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