Leaders of U.S. technology companies were quick to sound the alarm on Saturday and several bluntly criticized President Trump’s surprisingly broad executive order on immigration and refugees. The technology sector employs lots of foreign-born workers so were seen as particularly affected by the measure that temporarily bans citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, even if they have a valid green card or visa.
One of the strongest statements against the measure came from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who wrote on Facebook that the actions “are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all.” Hastings went on to call it a “sad week” and said it was “time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”
Google was one of the first to criticize the measure, with CEO Sundar Pichai saying that more than 100 staff members were affected by Trump’s order. “It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” Pichai wrote in a memo to staff. “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who has been heavily criticized for participating in Trump’s business advisory council, said in a memo to staff that the company would work to compensate drivers who would not be able to return to the country for 90 days. “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,” he wrote in the memo that he also posted on Facebook.
For its part, Microsoft said that it has 76 staff members who could be affected by Trump’s order, noting in a memo that the company supports immigration policies that “protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion.” Microsoft had already warned investors earlier in the week that Trump’s immigration policies could affect its bottom line because they could “inhibit our ability to adequately staff our research and development efforts.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a memo to employees that Trump’s immigration measure “is not a policy we support” and wrote that “we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.”
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also wrote on Facebook that he was “concerned” about Trump’s moves on immigration in a heartfelt post in which he talks about his and his wife’s personal stories. “We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here,” he wrote. Despite the criticism though, Zuckerberg sounded a bit of a positive tone, saying there were several things that Trump had said on the issue that he was “glad to hear.”
Another CEO that was a bit lukewarm in his criticism was Tesla's CEO Elon Musk, who criticized Trump during the campaign but has grown closer to the president since he was elected. Several outlets have mentioned a “budding bromance” between the two. And on Saturday, Musk wrote that the “blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.”
The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2017