Since President Trump issued his executive order restricting certain foreign citizens from entering the United States, a plethora of corporate entities have responded by condemning the action in one form or another. Specifically, the order indefinitely bans Syrian refugees, and temporarily bans all other refugees and anyone else from seven nations where Islam is the primary religion.
Immediately following the order on January 27, 2017, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance began a strike, “in solidarity with all of our peace-loving neighbors against this inhumane, cruel, and unconstitutional pure act of bigotry.” Lyft joined the strike, while Uber responded by dropping their typical surcharge for heavy traffic situations, apparently trying to break the strike. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick also served as an economic advisor to the Trump administration.
Lyft donates $1mil to ACLU while Uber doubles down on its support for Trump. #DeleteUber
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 29, 2017
On Sunday, Lyft responded by emailing customers, “We stand with you, and are donating $1 million over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution.”
The hashtag #DeleteUber went viral, leading Uber to apologize, saying it didn’t intend to break the strike and later offering to transport those affected by the ban free for three months. Finally, Uber created a $3 million defense fund to support drivers affected by the ban with their translation, legal and immigration costs and Kalanick resigned from Trump’s Economic Advisory Council. Meanwhile, Lyft moved to number six on the iPhone’s app store list by Monday, January 30.
Tech and Online Industries Oppose Ban with Particular Interests
On January 28, Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman published the following as part of his statement: “While this order impacts many companies outside of the tech industry, internet companies in particular thrive in the U.S. because the best and the brightest are able to create innovative products and services right here in America.”
He adds, “Internet Association member companies – along with companies in many other industries – include legal immigrant employees who are covered by these recent executive orders and will not be able to return back to their jobs and families in the U.S.”
Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined the airport protest against the ban in San Francisco on Saturday the 28th, telling Forbes: ”I’m here because I’m a refugee.” Google released a statement saying, “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.”
Netflix chief Reed Hastings said: “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.”
In an effort to clearly communicate his opposition to the order, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote to company employees: “We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.”
CEO of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey, tweeted, “The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting. We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S.”
Microsoft Corp President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith posted a company-wide email on LinkedIn that 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. But an undetermined number of employees who carry green cards or have permanent residence status may be affected.
“As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system,” Smith said in his post. “We believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.”
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