Silicon Valley Expresses Concern, Outrage Over Muslim Travel Ban
President Donald Trump’s Executive Order barring entry by foreign nationals from designated majority Muslim countries sparked widespread protests and has been temporarily stayed by the courts.
The Executive Order also elicited a strong outcry from Silicon Valley and tech companies which rely heavily on foreign talent in the first major rift with the new administration.
Below is a sampling of tech players who spoke out on the travel ban. In addition, Twitter investor Chris Sacca offered to match donations to those who would direct message or respond with receipts and then other execs began following suit.
- Stripe CEO Patrick Collison
- Nest founder Tony Fadell
- Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson, Joanne Wilson, Amy Batchelor and Brad Feld
- USV partner Albert Wenger and Ziggeo CEO Susan Danziger
- Homebrew Venture partners Hunter Walk and Satya Patel
- Intercom CEO Eoghan McCabe
- Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield
- Xamarin co-founder Nat Friedman
- Sequoia Capital’s Mike Vernal
- Charles River Ventures partner Izhar Armony
The tech response also include Silicon Alley companies such as Indiegogo, Greylock Partners, Casper, Birchbox, Foursquare, Warby Parker, LittleBits, Betaworks, Kickstarter, Lyft, Vine, Buzzfeed, Trello, Uber and Slack.
When Uber, whose CEO is a Trump supporter, tried to capitalize on a one-hour taxi strike at JFK Airport by dropping surge pricing, it faced a consumer backlash. Consumers began deleting their Uber app and switching to Lyft who had spoken out against the ban and pledged $1M to the ACLU.
Uber was forced to apologize and has pledged $3M legal defense fund to help drivers with immigration issues.
Tim Cook, in an email to Apple employees stressed “I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.”
I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support. . . .
Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe.
Google has expressed concerns about the impact of the Executive Order, but co-founder Sergey Brin was among those protesting at San Francisco International Airport.
Other Tech Companies
One of its founders stated;
In its company blog, Mozilla stated
The executive order ignores the single truth that we have come to know; talented immigrants have had outsized contributions to the growth and prosperity of the United States and countries around the world. Diversity in all of its forms is crucial to growth, innovation and a healthy, inclusive society.
We recognize the rights of sovereign nations to protect their security, but believe that this overly broad order and its implementation does not create an appropriate and necessary balance. It’s a bad precedent, ignores history, and is likely to do more lasting harm than good.
In a blog post, its founder called the ban “fundamentally un-American.’
Yesterday marked a solemn day for the United States, as we’ve betrayed one of our most cherished values. For over 200 years, the promise of America has been freedom from oppression and opportunity for those in need. While we’ve made mistakes along the way, we’ve always come to regret relinquishing our values to xenophobia. Quite possibly our most distinguishing national characteristic, we’ve been a shining beacon of hope and freedom in the world.
Yesterday, that beacon of hope and freedom was extinguished, exactly when humanity needs it the most. Globally there are over 60,000,000 displaced people, more than any time since World War II. And today we turned our backs on them.
. . . In short — by extinguishing that beacon of hope and freedom, and abandoning our most cherished values — we succumb to terror.
Our enemy is not terror, it is losing our soul while fighting terror. America is stronger than this.
In a blog post, its President Sam Altman stated:
It is time for tech companies to start speaking up about some of the actions taken by President Trump’s administration.
But the executive order from yesterday titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” is tantamount to a Muslim ban and requires objection. I am obviously in favor of safety and rules, but broad-strokes actions targeted at a specific religious group is the wrong solution, and a first step toward a further reduction in rights.
In addition, the precedent of invalidating already-issued visas and green cards should be extremely troubling for immigrants of any country or for anyone who thinks their contributions to the US are important. This is not just a Muslim ban. This is a breach of America’s contract with all the immigrants in the nation.
. . . In my first post on Trump last June, I said it would be a good time for all of us to start speaking up. We are now at the stage where something is starting that is going to be taught in history classes, and not in a good way. This morning, Kellyanne Conway posted on Twitter that Trump is “a man of action” who is “just getting started”. I believe her. We must now start speaking up.