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Alarm Over Trump Immigration Order Sounded by U.S. Tech Leaders


01/29/2017


Alarm Over Trump Immigration Order Sounded by U.S. Tech Leaders
With some leaders calling it immoral and un-American, President Donald Trump's sudden executive order on immigration has drawn sharp criticism from the U.S. technology industry, a major employer of foreign workers, which hit back on Saturday at Trump's policy.
 
In a move that caught many companies off-guard, even people they hold valid visas or permanent residence permits, Trump's order temporarily bars citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.
 
The decision was described as being "a sad week" by Netflix Inc Chief Executive Reed Hastings who added: "It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity."
 
Trump's order was "not a policy we support" and promised to help affected employees, said Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to employees.
 
"We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company," Cook added.
 
"The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges", Elon Musk, the South African-born founder of Tesla and SpaceX who met recently with Trump, said on Twitter.
 
"Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected," Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said. Chesky said that free housing to anyone not allowed into the United States will be provided by Airbnb.
  
"The executive order on immigration is immoral and antithetical to our values,” said Aaron Levie, the outspoken founder and CEO of online storage company Box Inc.
 
Potentially leaving employees stranded overseas and unable to return to the United States, Friday's order could be a major headache for tech companies.
  
Alphabet Inc's Google told ones who might be affected by the ban not to leave the United States and urgently called back employees from overseas.
 
According to a Google executive, more than 100 Google employees were affected by the order, said CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to .
 
The executive said that just hours before the order took effect, one Google employee of Iranian nationality with legal U.S. residency made it back to the United States.
 
"We're concerned 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 U.S.," Google said in a statement.
 
76 company employees were citizens of the seven countries in question and held U.S. work visas, and thus were directly affected by the order, Microsoft Corp President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a company-wide email posted on LinkedIn. how many people with green cards, or permanent residence status, might be affected has not yet been determined by the company.
 
"As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system," Smith said in the post. "We believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings."
 
The company would compensate drivers from the seven countries who might not be able to return to the United States for three months or more, said Uber Technologies Inc CEO Travis Kalanick, who has faced criticism from some employees for participating in President Trump's business advisory council. The company knew of about a dozen affected employees, he said.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)