David Kravets
President Donald Trump's order Friday banning immigrants and visitors from seven Muslim nations is being met by both harsh and somber verbal resistance from top tech sector leaders—from Apple to Y Combinator. The move was racist, affected perhaps thousands of tech workers, and was un-American, the executives said in tweets, e-mails, Facebook posts, blog posts, and in LinkedIn entries.
Steve Altman, president of the startup mentorship program Y Combinator, urged the tech sector to "take a stand" against the order that has launched a wave of chaos throughout the immigration system and prompted protests nationwide.
Altman said the executive order "is tantamount to a Muslim ban and requires objection. I am obviously in favor of safety and rules, but broad-strokes actions targeted at a specific religious group is the wrong solution, and a first step toward a further reduction in rights."
For his part, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees that more than 100 Google workers are affected by Trump's executive order, and he urged staff members who were traveling oversees to get back immediately.
"It's painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues," Pichai wrote in a memo to employees Friday. "We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so."
Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief, tweeted that "The Executive Order's humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting. We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the US."
President Donald Trump signs executive orders in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense on January 27, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. Trump signed two orders calling for the "great rebuilding" of the nation's military and the "extreme vetting" of people from terror-plagued countries.
President Donald Trump signs executive orders in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense on January 27, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. Trump signed two orders calling for the "great rebuilding" of the nation's military and the "extreme vetting" of people from terror-plagued countries.
Pool Photo/Getty Images
Meanwhile, on late Saturday, a New York federal judge ordered an immediate halt to deportations of travelers from Syria and six Muslim-majority nations who are barred from entry into the US under Trump's executive order. The court decision, based on a petition brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, affects people who landed at US airports Friday evening and Saturday. Trump's order halted refugee arrivals for 120 days, and banned for 90 days citizens of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
On Sunday Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump aide, defended the executive order.
"325,000 people from overseas came into this country just yesterday through our airports....You're talking about 300 and some who have been detained or are prevented from gaining access to an aircraft in their home countries," Conway said on "Fox News Sunday."
"That is 1 percent. And I think in terms of the upside being greater protection of our borders, of our people, it's a small price to pay."
Meantime, Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick, who is expected to meet with Trump on Friday, told employees in an e-mail that the Trump order will have "broad implications" for perhaps thousands of Uber drivers.
While every government has their own immigration controls, allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the US’s policy since its founding. That means 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.
One of Uber's main competitors, Lyft, pledged to donate $1 million to the ACLU on Sunday.
"This weekend, Trump closed the country's borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin. Banning people of particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the US is antithetical to both Lyft's and our nation's core values," Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said.
Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO, took to Facebook and 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. 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."
Stewart Butterfield, the Slack chief executive, told his Twitter followers that the executive order was "evil."
Tim Cook, the Apple chief executive, told employees in a memo that the Trump move "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.
The list of top tech executives blasting the Trump order is long. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that those barred by the order "don't deserve to be rejected." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told employees in an e-mail Saturday that 76 employees were affected by the Trump order.
"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," Nadella wrote. Salesforce executive Vala Afshar tweeted a list of 13 tech companies that were "founded by 1st/2nd generation immigrants."
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took to his social media network to condemn the plan:
We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat. Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don't pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.
Making good on a campaign promise to adopt "extreme vetting" procedures, Trump signed the order Friday evening in the Pentagon to prevent "radical Islamic terrorists" from entering the US. "We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas," the president said. "We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people."

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