As the rest of the world is still reeling from president Trumps’ decision to “temporarily” ban citizens from Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, executives from America’s tech community have joined together to call out the new legislation.
The executive order, which was signed and came into force on Saturday, has banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Nationals from those countries travelling to the US have been unable to board planes or enter the country, including travellers from the named countries who have dual nationality.
This is part of Trump’s election promise to protect the US from so-called foreign terrorists.
Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia have teamed up to support an official lawsuit over this immigration ban. Washington state, where the three companies are based, has filed a lawsuit against the executive order.
The lawsuit, filed by the state’s attorney general, will attempt to prove the ban is unconsitutional and that it will damage the state’s economy, as well as undermining Washington’s ethos as a “welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”
Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos sent an email to his employees saying Amazon’s legal team “has prepared a declaration of support for the Washington State Attorney general who will be filing suit against the order”.
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Elsewhere in America’s tech community, Twitter, the platform that arguably helped Trump win the 2016 election, made clear its views on the ban, by tweeting: “Twitter is built by immigrants of all religions. We stand for and with them, always.” The post has received over 565,000 likes on the social platform at the time of publication.
Mark Zuckerberg used his social media platform Facebook to explain his concerns about the impact of Trump’s new executive order.
“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. I hope we find the courage and compassion to bring people together and make this world a better place for everyone.”
Twitter is built by immigrants of all religions. We stand for and with them, always.
— Twitter (@Twitter) January 29, 2017
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also took to Facebook, reportedly writing on his own profile page to say: “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.”
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, who is currently serving on Trump’s strategic and policy forum, tweeted: “The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.”
He then called for his followers to give him advice on the order barring refugees, saying “[Let me know] specific amendments. Will seek advisory council consensus & present to president.”
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
In addition, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, wrote a piece on LinkedIn explaining Microsoft’s view on the ban.
Without criticising Trump directly, he said: “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.”
Hastings, Nadella and Zuckerberg’s statements all mentioned the “DREAMers”.
This refers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, also known as DACA, which allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the US as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation as well as eligibility for a work permit.
Trump is reportedly considering an end to the program. Vox received a draft of what appeared to be another executive order that would halt the issuing of new DACA grants and force current DACA recipients to lose their protections, however this remains to be seen if this will actually be made into policy.
Over in the UK, the prime minister Theresa May was forced to issue a statement last night saying she doesn’t agree with the immigration ban.