The latest executive order that prevents citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States caused public outrage and protests across the country.
Last Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that temporarily stopped admissions of all new refugees into the U.S. as well as indefinitely banned entry of Syrian refugees and citizens of a number of Muslim-majority countries. According to Trump's executive order, citizens of seven countries such as Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are barred from entering the United States even if they hold valid visas or residence permits. This executive order spurred a wave of criticism, with top American companies calling it "un-American", "upsetting" and simply "not right".
Politico said that this order, if fully implemented, could become one of the most far-reaching ones in history and could seriously affect lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. and abroad. Lawmakers and civil rights organizations said the ban would undermine one of America's core principles - being a safe haven for the vulnerable. On top of that, they claimed that Trump's protective order could do quite the opposite and only trigger more recruitment in extreme terrorist groups insisting that the U.S was against Islam.
However, President Trump said that the executive order was not a Muslim ban:
"We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting," he said in a Facebook statement.
The U.S. technology companies were one of the first to hit back at these sharp and unexpected changes to the immigration policy, since they traditionally welcomed international professionals from all around the globe.
Twitter's (NYSE: Twitter [TWTR]) CEO Jack Dorsey shared some statistics on his personal Twitter account that said that "11% of Syrian immigrants to the US are business owners, more than triple that of US-born business owners." The company also made a short statement via its official Twitter account:
Twitter is built by immigrants of all religions. We stand for and with them, always.— Twitter (@Twitter) January 29, 2017
Business Insider adds that the company was recently challenged by a number of protesters to completely ban Trump's twitter account as his comments about immigrants go against Twitter's hate speech policy.
Google (NASDAQ: Alphabet Class A [GOOGL]) CEO Sundar Pichai said that more than 100 company's employees were affected by Trump's executive order, with many of them being immediately recalled back to the U.S. from their travels abroad.
"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. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere," Pichai said in a company-wide memo, as reported by Bloomberg.
Earlier today, USA Today reported that Google launched a $4 million crisis fund aimed at donating to such organizations as Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and others. They noted that this was Google's biggest crisis initiative to date.
One of Google's founders Sergey Brin participated in the protests against the immigration ban in San Francisco airport, where he commented: "I'm here because I'm a refugee."
"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," he said, as reported by Business Insider.
"Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Many companies, just as Google, went as far as to organize funds, donations or take other steps to counteract the immigration ban. For example, Starbucks (NASDAQ: Starbucks Corporation [SBUX]) said that they planned to hire as many as 10,000 refugees in more than 75 countries worldwide in the upcoming years, starting in the U.S. already now.
Similarly, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said yesterday they were ready to provide free housing to refugees as well as "anyone not allowed in the U.S."
"I profoundly disagree with, and it is a direct obstacle to our mission at Airbnb. Barring refugees and people who are not a threat from entering America simply because they are from a certain country is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. The doors to America shall remain open, and any that are locked will not be for long," Chesky wrote in the statement.
Hours after the executive order was issued, Trump followed with a series of Twitter statements:
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world - a horrible mess!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017