In the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s executive order last week suspending entry from seven, predominantly, Muslim countries and banning all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days, U.S. tech giants have reportedly drafted a letter of protest communicating their collective concerns on the visa restrictions.
Tech juggernauts like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, to name a few, are leading the attempt in this regard and plans are underway to rope in other industries like big manufacturing outfits, media giants and some consumer product companies to become signatories in the joint appeal to the President to add more leverage to their case.
Trump’s visa suspension directives, which temporarily bans entry of residents from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, and indefinitely bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States, triggered all round protests across the country’s airports including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Trump’s controversial executive order has been opposed by companies, particularly tech companies, as they stand to be affected the most by the visa restrictions. The leadership of the tech giants has been the most vocal and outspoken in their disagreement with the President’s executive order; hence, their effort towards a joint letter to the President reflecting their combined concerns. Notably, the change in a stance against the President’s move is in stark contrast to the initial signs of cooperation.
The draft of the letter addresses the importance of attracting “the best and the brightest” tech talent from all over the world who have been instrumental in the country’s success. The draft also communicates concerns over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily protects people brought to the US as children from deportation. “Removing these protections by barring renewals would effectively end the program and eliminate the ability for these Dreamers to work and live without the fear of deportation,” reads an extract from the draft.
The draft goes on to explain that the business community is as committed as the President in so far as the American economy and job creation in the country are concerned. It stresses on the fact that the American business community employs thousands of American citizens and the brightest overseas talent that combine to help American businesses succeed thereby increasing the “overall employment.”
“The business community shares your commitment to growing the American economy and expanding job creation across the country. We hire both thousands of Americans and some of the most talented people from abroad, who work together to help our companies succeed and expand our overall employment. As you contemplate changes to the nation’s complex and interconnected immigration policies, whether business and employment-based visas, refugees or DACA, we hope that you will use us as a resource to help achieve immigration policies that both support the work of American businesses and reflect American values,” the draft concludes.
Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Uber, and Stripe have refrained from commenting on when the letter would be dispatched while Facebook has declined to make any observations on the proposed draft.
This, however, is not the first objection to the travel and visa restrictions by tech companies. While Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia are backing a lawsuit by the state of Washington against the executive order restricting the import of overseas talent, Google held a protest at its corporate headquarters complex in Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California, near San Jose.
Additionally, over 2000 New York tech industry representatives from Spotify, Yext, Meetup and Etsy are joint signatories on a letter cautioning against the economic impact of restricting entry of overseas talent and immigration to the United States.