11 Companies Going Against President Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban
President Donald Trump’s immigration ban was controversial from the start. The travel ban was scorned by swaths of the American population, including a number of legislators, judges, and other government officials. A lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Washington and Minnesota led to a temporary halt of the ban being enforced on February 3.
The ban, which Trump enacted as an executive order, originally denied travel access into the United States for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. These included Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. All refugees were banned from entering the country, and Syrian refugees in particular were banned indefinitely.
A number of high-profile people have spoken out against the ban, including the CEOs of some of the largest companies on American soil. In most cases, those business leaders cite the need for diversity in their workplaces as a driving force for creativity and innovation. In fact, 97 companies filed a legal brief against the ban, saying it “inflicts significant harm on American business.”
Most of the companies included in the legal brief are a part of your daily life, and they employ a large number of immigrants on work visas. Here are 11 of the largest companies against Trump’s ban.
Amazon might’ve not been one of the first companies to join the lawsuit, but it was quick to follow. The e-commerce giant publicly stated it will support its home state of Washington in the legal proceedings. “To our employees in the U.S. and around the world who may be directly affected by this order, I want you to know that the full extent of Amazon’s resources are behind you,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a note to employees.
CNN reports that Bezos added that the company does not support the ban. “We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years … It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country — one we should not weaken.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal that hundreds of the company’s employees are affected by the immigration order. “More than any country in the world, this country is strong because of our immigrant background and our capacity and ability as people to welcome people from all kinds of backgrounds. That’s what makes us special,” Cook said. “We ought to pause and really think deeply through that.”
Cook’s comments built on a previous memo he had sent to Apple staffers, affirming the company is against the ban. “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” he stated. Apple is one of the leading companies in the legal brief as well.
Uber originally issued a statement against the ban that many people felt was fairly weak. As a result, #DeleteUber began trending on social media, and scores of people deleted the ride-sharing app from their devices in protest.
Since then, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has taken much stronger measures, including setting up a $3 million defense fund to help affected Uber drivers with legal proceedings. He’s also joined a separate letter from New York’s technological companies that oppose the ban. In a larger and more public step, Kalanick has excused himself from Trump’s advisory council.
“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick wrote in a letter to Uber employees. “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that.”
Google was one of the many technological giants to join the legal brief in protest against the immigration ban. In addition, the company and individual employees are donating funds — expected to reach $4 million — that will go toward organizations helping those affected by the ban, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the United Nations’s refugee agency.
“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.,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.
“We are living in an unprecedented time,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a memo to employees soon after the ban was enacted. In that same memo, Schultz vowed to hire 10,000 refugees at its locations in 75 countries around the world. Similar to other large companies, Starbucks has also extended free legal advice to any employees affected by the ban.
The move was met with protest from many Trump supporters, who said the company should be hiring U.S. veterans instead. In fact, Starbucks made a similar pledge to hire veterans a few years ago, and so far has hired more than 8,000.
Trump alone has ensured that Twitter will be around and relevant for the next several years, but that hasn’t stopped the company from denouncing the President’s recent legal actions. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a statement — you guessed it, through a tweet — that called the ban “real and upsetting.”
The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting. We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S. https://t.co/HdwVGzIECt
— jack (@jack) January 28, 2017
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who is on Trump’s advisory council, has defended his decision to stay on it, saying he’s “doing good” by being an opposing voice in the room. However, that hasn’t stopped the businessman from being outspoken against the ban.
8. 21st Century Fox
Apparently, you don’t have to be a tech company to find fault with the immigration order. Despite FOX having a love-hate affair with The Donald, company leaders Lachlan and James Murdoch penned a company memo speaking out against the ban.
“… As a company that is driven by creativity and innovation, we recognize the unique perspective offered by our many people who came to the U.S. in search of the opportunity for unfettered self-expression,” they wrote.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote a statement on his page not long after the executive order was signed to come out against the exclusion the order brought. His family is made up of immigrants, and his wife, Priscilla, has parents who were once refugees from China and Vietnam.
“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.
Microsoft is one of the companies offering direct support to the legal proceedings against the ban that were filed in its home state of Washington. Aside from that, the company is also seeking an exception to the ban for its 76 employees and 41 dependents.
As is the case with most companies on this list, Microsoft has already dedicated legal advice and counsel for those staff members. Top executives have also weighed in, including CEO Satya Nadella. “As an immigrant and as a CEO,” Nadella said, “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.”
Several executives at the cloud computing company have been outspoken against the travel ban. CEO Marc Benioff took to Twitter several times soon after the ban was announced, denouncing the move.
The more pointed statement against the ban, however, came from executive Vala Afshar, who tweeted out a list of several U.S. companies who were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. Notably on the list was Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, Yahoo, and AT&T.