Silicon Valley CEOs entered the debate over President Donald Trump’s immigration policy this weekend, offering criticisms of the seven-country immigration ban and in some cases outlining plans to support the employees it affects. The responses range in tone from mild rebuke to stern denunciation, reflecting both the varying personal opinions of the CEOs and their individual willingness to risk retribution from the federal government.
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Here’s how tech companies reacted, with their responses sorted by the strength of their criticism.
Statements that express moral opposition to the policy.
Atlassian. The Australian company, which makes business software including Hipchat and Trello, said its co-founders “strongly disagree” with the ban. “To use an Australian-ism, “it’s just #@!%ing wrong,” CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes said in a statement.
Box. Aaron Levie, CEO of the business collaboration company, called the ban “wrong” in strong terms. He has since expanded on his thoughts in a post on Medium.
On every level -moral, humanitarian, economic, logical, etc.- this ban is wrong and is completely antithetical to the principles of America.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) January 28, 2017
Dropbox. Just a tweet from CEO Drew Houston, but it counts.
Executive orders affecting world's most vulnerable are un-American. Dropbox embraces people from all countries and faiths
— Drew Houston (@drewhouston) January 28, 2017
Lyft. “Throughout our history, Lyft has worked hard to create an inclusive, diverse and conscientious community where all of our drivers and passengers feel welcome and respected,” CEO Logan Green told Recode. “Banning people of a particular religion from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values.”
This morning, Lyft announced that it was pledging to donate $1 million over the next four years to the ACLU.
Google. “We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” Google told Bloomberg. In a memo obtained by Bloomberg, CEO Sundar Pichai said it is “painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.” Google co-founder Larry Page has yet to weigh in, but his fellow co-founder Sergey Brin was spotted at the march at San Francisco International Airport.
Google cofounder Sergey Brin at SFO protest: "I'm here because I'm a refugee." (Photo from Matt Kang/Forbes) pic.twitter.com/GwhsSwDPLT
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) January 29, 2017
According to the USA Today, Google has created its largest crisis campaign ever with a $2 million crisis fund that can be matched by employees for a total of $4 million. The fund will be used for four organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee, and UNHCR.
Instacart. CEO Apoorva Mehta tweeted that he is “sad and angry” about the ban. The company donated $100,000 to the ACLU and invited employees to a meeting this week to discuss further actions.
Netflix. CEO Reed Hastings denounced Trump’s policy, call this “a very sad week.” “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” Hastings said in a Facebook post. “Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe.”
Postmates. “It is evident to myself and the leadership of Postmates that these policies on immigration are morally questionable due to the impact they have on the lives that have been and will be affected,” CEO Bastian Lehmann said in a Medium post. The company said it would match employee donations to the ACLU and the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Reddit. Co-founder Alexis Ohanian, in a Reddit post: “President Trump’s recent executive order is not only potentially unconstitutional, but deeply un-American.”
Salesforce. CEO Marc Benioff called for an end to the ban on Twitter. He also retweeted a number of posts critical of the executive order, including one by Twitter board member Bret Taylor.
Shameful. Students can't return to school. Permanent residents separated from families. We're better than this. https://t.co/UywiBgKSuA
— Bret Taylor (@btaylor) January 28, 2017
Uber. Uber pledged to compensate drivers stuck overseas because of Trump’s ban. “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,” CEO Travis Kalanick said in a Facebook post. (The company later faced strong criticism for disabling surge pricing at John F. Kennedy International Airport during a reported taxi strike; Kalanick responded by donating $3 million to set up a legal defense fund for affected drivers.)
Y Combinator. The president of the prestigious Silicon Valley incubator, which birthed Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and other unicorns, said it is “time to take a stand.” “This administration has already shown that they are not particularly impressed by the First Amendment, and that they are interested in other anti-immigrant action,” Sam Altman said in a blog post. “So we must object, or our inaction will send a message that the administration can continue to take away our rights.”
Airbnb. Brian Chesky, CEO of the popular home-sharing service, condemned the immigration ban, calling for his company to “stand with those who are affected” — and then he went one step further, offering free housing to “anyone not allowed in the USA.”
Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 29, 2017