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Tech Leaders Opposed to Trump’s Immigration Ban

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Top executives in the U.S. tech industry have strongly criticized President Trump’s immigration ban. The ban targets Muslim immigrants from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. These executives argued that such a policy would affect their existing employees as well as their quest for top talent from these countries.

Although the ban has been lifted after a court ruling, there is widespread uncertainty especially since the Trump’s administration is challenging the ruling.

The immigration ban by Trump’s administration caused and uproar in various parts of the country as mass protests and backlash were evidenced.

The executive order had banned citizens from Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The Muslim countries affected by the  U.S. immigration ban are Iraq, Syria, Somali, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya. This ban also included 120 days ban for all refugees and an indefinite ban of admission of all refugees from Syria.

What is Trump’s reasoning? According to Trump, his intention is to protect America and its people.
On the other hand, tech leaders feel that the ban could affect their businesses. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, said that the move would affect almost 200 of its employees. The general feeling is that the ban will act as a barrier to bringing great talent to tech firms in the U.S.

Trump’s executive order had become a high priority topic in the tech industry. Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, resigned from Trump’s business advisory council after a barrage of reproach. Kalanick defended himself by saying that taking up such a position did not mean that he endorses Trump or his policies. Other top CEO’s who denounced the draconian policy are Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Elon Musk, Tesla, and, and Sundar Pinchai, Google. This ban was not especially received well by some top executives such as Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, the cloud-based company since he is Iranian-American.

Trump’s immigration ban did not also sit well with courts and justice department arguing that it was causing irreparable damage to Americans.

Many Silicon Valley firms are opposed to Trump’s policy. They are concerned that the ban will affect their ability to recruit staff such as programmers and engineers from parts of the world that have been affected by the executive order or even affect their businesses in such countries. In a memo to Apple employees, Tim Cook, Apple CEO said that the company is opposed to Trump’s immigration policy. Cook stated that Apple would not even exist were it not for immigration since Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant.

Silicon Valley is also home to numerous immigrant entrepreneurs. David Hindawi, the executive chairman of Tanium is an example of a successful entrepreneur who left a Muslim country to become a billionaire. Hindawi was born in Iraq, one of the countries affected by the ban, and later moved to the U.S. with his family.

In addition to the ban, a draft proposal that would impact the H-1B visas has been circulating. This visa program is very important to the tech industry since it is a popular avenue through which top tech companies get high-skilled foreign workers. When addressing his reasons for resignation from the advisory board, Kalanick stated that some top staff members at Uber executives are immigrants. Top tech firms heavily rely on H-1Bs as they seek top talents.

What is Trump’s argument on this? Trump argues that America has not been getting the best workforce; hence, policy changes would ensure that those entering the U.S. are the best. The administration has stated that the program has been abused; hence, the need for reforms.

As tech companies continue to oppose Trump’s immigration ban, there are fears that he could withdraw his pledge to help the tech industry through government regulations. In a meeting attended by top tech giants such as Elon Musk Larry Page, and Jeff Bezos, Trump revealed that his administration would help tech companies.

Regardless, the big question has been whether the immigration order is legal or illegal. While such discrimination was outlawed by the congress several decades ago,  Trump has argued that there are some 1952 laws that give him the power to suspend the entry of anybody that poses a threat to the U.S.

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