Silicon Valley CEOs entered the debate over President Donald Trump’s immigration policy this weekend, offering criticisms of the seven-country immigration ban and in some cases outlining plans to support the employees it affects.
The responses range in tone from mild rebuke to stern denunciation, reflecting both the varying personal opinions of the CEOs and their individual willingness to risk retribution from the federal government.
Here’s how tech companies reacted:
Airbnb. Brian Chesky, CEO of the popular home-sharing service, condemned the immigration ban, calling for his company to “stand with those who are affected” — and then he went one step further, offering free housing to “anyone not allowed in the USA.”
Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 29, 2017
Box. Aaron Levie, CEO of the business collaboration company, called the ban “wrong” in strong terms.
On every level -moral, humanitarian, economic, logical, etc.- this ban is wrong and is completely antithetical to the principles of America.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) January 28, 2017
Lyft. “Throughout our history, Lyft has worked hard to create an inclusive, diverse and conscientious community where all of our drivers and passengers feel welcome and respected,” CEO Logan Green told Recode. “Banning people of a particular religion from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values.”
Netflix. CEO Reed Hastings denounced Trump’s policy, call this “a very sad week.” “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” Hastings said in a Facebook post. “Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe.”
Salesforce. CEO Mark Benioff called for an end to the ban on Twitter. He also retweeted a number of posts critical of the executive order, including one by Twitter board member Bret Taylor.
Shameful. Students can’t return to school. Permanent residents separated from families. We’re better than this. https://t.co/UywiBgKSuA
— Bret Taylor (@btaylor) January 28, 2017
Slack. CEO Stewart Butterfield posted a lengthy tweetstorm about the ban. “Nearly every action seems gratuitously … evil,” Butterfield said of Trump’s first week. He went on to describe how his grandparents had found refuge in America. “We are all brothers and sisters,” he said.
I guess we all need to periodically reaffirm the obvious. All human beings are equally valuable. Black lives matter. LGBT deserve marriage.
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) January 28, 2017
Uber. Uber pledged to compensate drivers stuck overseas because of Trump’s ban. “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,” CEO Travis Kalanick said in a Facebook post.
Y Combinator. The president of the prestigious Silicon Valley incubator, which birthed Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and other unicorns, said it is “time to take a stand.” “This administration has already shown that they are not particularly impressed by the First Amendment, and that they are interested in other anti-immigrant action,” Sam Altman said in a blog post. “So we must object, or our inaction will send a message that the administration can continue to take away our rights.”
Apple. CEO Tim Cook said the executive orders “are not a policy we support.” In a memo to employees, he said Apple had reached out to the White House in protest of the immigration ban.
Google. “We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” Google told Bloomberg. In a memo obtained by Bloomberg, CEO Sundar Pichai said it is “painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.” Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have yet to weigh in.
Mozilla: In a blog post, CEO Chris Beard said that : “It’s a bad precedent, ignores history, and is likely to do more lasting harm than good.”
Tesla. CEO Elon Musk came out against the policy. “Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US,” tweeted Musk, who just joined Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative yesterday. “They’ve done right, not wrong & don’t deserve to be rejected.”
Twitter. CEO Jack Dorsey called the impact “real and upsetting” in a tweet.
The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting. We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S. https://t.co/HdwVGzIECt
— jack (@jack) January 28, 2017
Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was “concerned” about Trump’s executive orders but offered support for vague comments Trump made to “work something out” for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children. “We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help,” he said in a Facebook post.
Microsoft. Microsoft issued a response and said it would aid employees who are affected.
“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,” wrote CEO Satya Nadella in a LinkedIn blog post.
Amazon: Yet to comment.
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